James Caan was born on 26 March 1940, in The Bronx, New York City USA, into a family of Jewish immigrants from Germany. James Caan‘s name can be found on the list of the best of Hollywood actors, in the majority of his films portraying notorious macho men such as gangsters and criminals. For instance, movie buffs still recognize him as Sonny Corleone from the legendary film ‘The Godfather'(1972) directed by Francis Ford Coppola, for which role James Caan was nominated for an Oscar.
So just how rich is James Caan? During his long career, James is estimated to have accumulated $40 million in net worth, from appearing in at least one film every year – with the exception of five in the 1980s following the death of his sister from leukemia – for more than 50 years.
James Caan Net Worth $40 Million
James Caan attended Michigan State University and Hofstra University, but did not finish his academic studies, as he became interested in cinema and decided to study at Neighborhood Playhouse of the Theatre. He graduated from this school, which led to his life as an actor.
James Caan made his Broadway debut when he appeared in the play ‘Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole’ in 1961. During the 60s he could be seen acting in several popular television series such as ‘The Untouchables’, ‘The Alfred Hitchcock Hour’, ‘Kraft Suspense Theatre’, ‘Combat!’, ‘Ben Casey’, ‘Dr. Kildare’, ‘Route 66’, and ‘The Naked City’. All these provided a steady income to James Caan’s net worth.
Caan then began perform on the big screen, in films such as ‘Lady in a Cage’, ‘El Dorado’, featuring John Wayne, and ‘The Rain People’. Following these performances, James Caan became better known, and they significantly increased James Caan net worth. His performance in the film ‘Brian’s Song’ was positively evaluated, resulting in Caan’s rise to real prominence when he appeared in the gangster film ‘The Godfather’, playing Sonny Corleone for which role he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Later he appeared in films such as ‘The Godfather Part II’, ‘Funny Lady’, and ‘Thief’, which also contributed to the overall amount of James Caan net worth. Caan did not act in the period from 1982 to 1987 due to severe depression. However, he came back to acting in 1987 when Francis Ford Coppola offered him the role in the film ‘Gardens of Stone’. Later Caan acted in the films ‘Dick Tracy’ and ‘Alien Nation’. However, the screen adaptation of Stephen King’s novel ‘Misery’ was the most successful for Caan, and his net worth immediately rose.
James Caan also performed in other successful films such as ‘A Bridge too Far’, ‘Honeymoon in Vegas’, ‘Eraser’, ‘Bulletproof’, ‘Mickey Blue Eyes’, and ‘Dogville’. Caan also acted in the television series ‘Las Vegas’ for four years.
James Caan is still active, and in 2012 he appeared in the television series Hawaii Five-0, in which he played with his son Scott Caan. A year later TV viewers could see James Caan in the TV series ‘Magic City’. He then played the leading role in the 2014 film ‘The Outsider’, and will also appear in the films ‘Sweetwater’ and ‘Preggoland’ for release in 2015. Therefore, James Caan’s star has not faded away and he is still one of the most wanted actors in Hollywood. Moreover, although he has worked consistently for over 50 in the film industry, appearing in very nearlly 100 movies, there is no sign of him slowing down, so there is no doubt that James Caan net worth will continue to grow.
In his personal life, James Caan has been married four times. In 1961 he married Dee Jay Mathis; they had a daughter but divorced in 1966. Caan’s second marriage was to Sheila Marie Ryan in 1976 but was short-lived and they divorced in 1977 after having a son. Caan was then married to Ingrid Hajek from 1990 to 1994; they also had a son. He married Linda Stokes in 1995, they have two sons, but Caan filed for divorce in 2009, citing irreconcilable differences.
Two of his memorable scenes from The Godfather (1972) have been parodied on The Simpsons. The scene where Sonny beats up Carlo in the street was turned into a scene where Marge does the same to a man who mugged her. Sonny's death scene has actually been parodied twice. The first time involved Bart being ambushed with snowballs at school. The second actually involved Caan himself making a guest appearance, and being ambushed at a tollbooth again.
Turned down Jack Nicholson's role in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975). Not one to repeat that mistake, he accepted the lead role in Misery (1990) when Nicholson turned it down. Both films involved the lead character being at the mercy of a sadistic nurse.
Frequent guest/player at celebrity golf events.
Has a daughter, Tara A. Caan (born November 5, 1964), with first wife Dee Jay Mattis.
His parents, Sophie (Falkenstein) and Arthur Caan, were both German Jews.
Lives in Beverly Hills, California.
During the making of Mickey Blue Eyes (1999), he nicknamed Hugh Grant "Whippy" after the Whippet, an English breed of dog that shivers a lot.
Studied in The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater in New York.
Studied in Rhodes High School in New York.
Has a son named Alexander James Caan (b. April 10th 1991) with Ingrid Hajek.
According to the British documentary The Godfather and the Mob (2006), Caan was regularly seen with Gambino family underboss Carmine Persico (aka "Junior") during the filming of The Godfather (1972). As Persico was under surveillance by the FBI at the time, Caan came under almost equal scrutiny.
His film contracts during his rodeo days had written in them that he could not compete in rodeos during filming. This was for fear he would injure or kill himself.
While on sabbatical from acting he coached a Little League baseball team, there was one incident where his team's weakest player hit a home run that won a game. This incident is claimed by Caan as one of the greatest moments of his life.
In his youth, his nicknames were "Shoulders" and "Killer Caan".
(On turning down Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)) I was first, Dustin [Hoffman] was last on the list of five guys they wanted. The director [Robert Benton] kept it up with me for three months. I said, 'This is middle-class, bourgeois horseshit.' I mean, 'Cut to kid crying.' Oh, please. Fuck you!
(On turning down One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)) Four or five different directors came to me with that at different times. I go, 'It's not a movie. Who wants to look at four institution walls?' Milos Forman made it great. Jack was great in it. I made a flat-out, fucking mistake.
I won't mention names, but in my career, the most talented people invariably are the easiest and nicest to get along with. The ones that are difficult try to camouflage the fact that they haven't got shit to offer. So they complain about frilly things that really don't mean a shit, like their dressing rooms, makeup.
[on figuring out how to play Sonny Corleone] I didn't have to work on an accent or anything, but I couldn't quite get a grasp. I was shaving to go to dinner or something, and for some reason I started thinking of Don Rickles. Because I knew Rickles. Somebody was watching over me and gave me this thing: being Rickles, kind of say-anything, do-anything.
[His advice to younger actors] The main pearl of wisdom I give these young kids is that you shouldn't make your career your whole life. No matter what heights you achieve, even if you're Brad Pitt, the slide is coming, sure as death and taxes. So if you put everything into that one basket - acting - you'll wind up hurting yourself, either with drugs or any other self-destructive thing you can think of.
I went through some bad times, some very self-destructive stuff, you know, when I was on top. I'd got involved in partying and doing all that and I lost my sister and, basically, I got all screwed up in my head. She was like my best friend and I lost her to leukemia and I was just a mess. I had a lot of money because I'd worked a lot and saved it. I had it in a pension plan and then I lost all my money. My accountant. I just woke up one morning and I didn't have a dime. We're talking about tons . . . I mean, a lot of money, and I was flat broke.
I did this picture last year with Nicole Kidman and Lars von Trier, Dogville (2003), and it's supposed to be a trilogy, but now that she's walked away from it, I'm walking from it. He is very anti-American, so screw him. I'm very pro-America. I'm a conservative, basically.
[on fans confusing him with his characters] Look, you only pray when you start in this business that you get to the point where people recognize you or quote you. I mean, I've got a lot of people who are like, "Hey, your ankle OK?" from Misery (1990). I get that a lot. It's harmless. Or they'll say, "Hey, don't go through that toll booth again" or "Have the right change". That's great! First of all, it means that they remember the picture. There's nothing not to like about it . . . No, I hope they never stop.
You know those actors who say, "I want to be alone" or they're walking around with their friggin' bodyguards? A bodyguard! I'd never have a bodyguard. I mean, who wants to hurt me? But the point is that they have the bodyguard so that they can say, "Leave me alone!" It's this revolving door thing. If somebody didn't recognize them, they'd have a heart attack, the bastards.
[on being confused with his character from The Godfather (1972)] I'll bump into a guy in a bar, and he'll say, "I'm sorry, Sonny!" It's surreal.
There's a big difference between wanting to work and having to work. And I had to learn that the hard way. Now money is very important to me, because I ain't got it.
I had great, great times as a Little League coach. People were talking about me quitting acting, and they would say, "What about your creative juices?" Coaching is creative, because you could take a kid who thought he wasn't any good and, within four minutes, change his mind. And I didn't have to wait six months for them to put music to it. How good a Little League coach was I? I was a little hyper. One thing I learned was that talent comes from everywhere; it doesn't have to come just from the ghetto. But in Beverly Hills, because Daddy has a grocery store, the kids lack a lot of try.
I'll see a beautiful girl walking up to me and I'll think, "Oh, my God, I can't believe my good luck". But then she'll say, "Where's your son?" or "My mother loves you."
[about living at the Playboy mansion] Actually, it was for medicinal purposes - I was just getting divorced. This doctor wrote me a prescription to live there because he thought it would help me get over the pain of my divorce. My God, it worked. I got over it pretty quickly.
If it was up to them, I'd be playing Sonny Corleone my entire life. Usually, if there weren't eight people dead by page 11, they wouldn't send me the script. People say, "Gee, you do a lot of mafia movies". I think I've done two, out of 60.
[on Zabriskie Point (1970)] It was the worst fucking - and I have to curse because there is no other way that I can express myself - picture that I ever saw. I got so angry about it. I was in love with a girl. We went to the movie and it ended the whole affair. He [Michelangelo Antonioni] hired cardboard, the worst actors, and it was a conscious effort - that's what pissed me off.
[on recent big-budget Hollywood films] [They] absolutely stink. All those pictures, those big extravaganzas - you can't remember any characters. Either they had an animal head on them or walked funny . . . If they want me to work, I'll go, "Sure". Basically, I'm a whore.
I loved Funny Lady (1975) for whatever reason. People say they didn't know I could sing and dance. Well, nobody ever asks me - it's always "Punch this guy".
Quite often I'm misunderstood when I say, 'It's not my life, it's my job.' People think that means I don't give a shit. Sure, I want to be the best actor in the world. But my life is my family, my son, my friends. I don't know how anyone can find fault with that. For some reason when you say, 'It's my job' it sounds like 'Who gives a shit?' Well, that's not it at all. What I do quite honestly and seriously and not in any way being humble is not as important as what the garbage collector does. People make actors important. I go to the movies, I stand on line minding my own business and the manager goes, 'Mr. Caan, Mr. Caan.' And I say, 'No, no, no, I'm OK. I'll stand on the line.' 'Oh, you can't.' So, finally they take you through the line and the other 40 people go, 'Hey, Mr. Bigshot.' And I was just minding my own business, I just wanted to stand there. But other people make it very important that I'm an actor.
I never did anything else. In college I switched majors every two weeks and acting was the only thing that held my interest. The reason I started was to stay away from the meat market. That's where I was headed -- to be with the guys who lug beef all day long.
My acting technique is to look up at God just before the camera rolls and say, 'Give me a break.'
Anyone of my generation who tells you he hasn't "done" Brando [Marlon Brando] is lying.
I'd rather get sloshed than stoned.
I have an agent I trust professionally more than anybody else, but with the best intentions he could put me in the shithouse just as fast as somebody who wanted to ruin me.
[on being voted "Italian of the Year" in New York twice, after his role as Sonny Corleone in The Godfather (1972)]: I'm a Jew from the Bronx. I feel guilty about accepting these awards, but they wouldn't let me turn them down.