An autopsy has confirmed that James Caan’s death was caused by a heroin overdose, the Los Angeles County Coroner announced.
An official county report states that 82-year-old Caan died earlier this month after a heart attack and coronary artery disease.
On the actor’s official Twitter account, his family had revealed his passing a few weeks earlier, in early July.
Sadly, Jimmy passed away on the evening of July 6th, according to a tweet from the Jimmy Stewart estate. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family at this terrible time. We ask that you please respect their wishes for privacy.
During the early 1970s, Caan became a household name after starring in a string of memorable roles. As the real-life cancer-stricken Chicago Bears running back Brian Piccolo, he received an Emmy nomination in ABC’s Brian’s Song alongside Billy Dee Williams as Gale Sayers, the other running back. After garnering a 32.9 rating/48 share and five Emmys, including Outstanding Single Program – Drama or Comedy, the moving story of the first interracial roommates in the NFL was the most-watched TV movie ever.
Brian’s Song screenwriter William Blinn told the Television Academy Foundation in 2011 that “Jimmy’s Jimmy.” He was usually confident and cocky. Extremely aggressive. Exhilarating, yet not overtly so. He’s a guy with all the positives and negatives you can think of,” he says.
Sonny Corleone, the eldest son of Don Corleone (Marlon Brando) in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, was Caan’s most memorable portrayal. The film adaptation of Mario Puzo’s best-selling novel received the Academy Award for Best Picture and is widely regarded as one of cinema’s all-time greats. The onscreen demise of Caan in the midst of a barrage of gunshots is also regarded as one of the best in cinema.
Erik Pedersen was one of the authors of this piece.