James Caan, Vito Corleone’s toughest son and Buddy the Elf’s soft touch dad, has died. An old school hardcase who worked pretty much right to the end, he was 82.
“Thief,” “Gardens of Stone,” “The Godfather,” he walked away from good parts and seemed to have as many foibles as anybody who ever attained star status. But he was one of a kind.
Talented people wanted to work with him, even if he wasn’t the nicest guy to deal with on the set. I remember him dismissing “For the Boys,” and keeping Bette Midler, a packed LA cinema and a big band waiting for the premiere, one of a couple of times I interviewed him.
A lot of long “bathroom” breaks in that era in Hollywood.
That British series on movies and the star system that contrasted Caan with gladhander hack Schwarzenegger made Arnold look like a putz and Caan a bitter egomaniac.
And then there was William Golding, Hollywood’s most in demand screenwriter in his day, taking on adapting Stephen King’s “Misery,” not for King or future Oscar winner Kathy Bates or director Rob Reiner. But for Sonny.