1. For his role in The Godfather, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
2. Caan was born on March 26, 1940 in The Bronx, New York, le fils de Sophie et Arthur Caan, Jewish immigrants from Germany. He was educated in New York City, and later attended Michigan State University.
3. He later transferred to Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, but did not graduate.
4. His classmates at Hofstra included Lainie Kazan and Francis Ford Coppola.
5. There, one of his instructors was Sanford Meisner. He studied at the school for five years.
6. Caan began appearing on off-Broadway before making his Broadway debut with Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole.
7. He began appearing in such television series as The Untouchables, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Kraft Suspense Theatre, Combat!, Ben Casey, Dr. Kildare, The Wide Country, Alcoa Premiere, Route 66, and Naked City.
8. For example, in “The Hunt” on episode 9, season 1 for Suspense Theater, he was the young surfer being hunted by the sadistic sheriff played by Mickey Rooney.
9. Dans 1964, he starred as Jewish athlete Jeff Brubaker in the episode “My Son, the All-American” of Channing, a drama about college life.
10. His first substantial film role was as a punk hoodlum in the 1964 thriller Lady in a Cage, which starred Olivia de Havilland.
11. Dans 1966, Caan appeared as Alan Bourdillion Traherne, aka Mississippi, in El Dorado, with John Wayne and Robert Mitchum.
12. Dans 1969, his appearance on the spy sitcom Get Smart was uncredited, billed as “Rupert of Rathskeller as Himself”; dans cette même année, il a gagné des éloges pour son rôle en tant que joueur de football de cerveau endommagé Les gens de la pluie réalisé par Francis Ford Coppola.
13. The following year, Coppola cast him as the short-tempered Sonny Corleone in The Godfather.
14. Originally, Caan was cast as Michael Corleone ; both Coppola and Caan demanded that this role be played by Al Pacino, so Caan could play Sonny instead.
15. Although another actor was already signed to play Sonny, the studio insisted on having Caan, so he remained in the production.
16. Caan was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the film, competing with co-stars Robert Duvall and Pacino. Caan was closely identified with the role for years afterward: “They called me a wiseguy.