Actor James Caan, star of films including The Godfather and Elf, has died aged 82.

His family said on Twitter: “It is with great sadness that we inform you of Jimmy’s death on the evening of July 6.

“The family appreciates the outpouring of love and heartfelt condolences and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time. End of tweet.”

Kaan was born in 1940 in the Bronx, New York, to Jewish immigrants from Germany.

Photo: AP

In an effort not to follow his father into the meat trade, he initially hoped for a career in American football, but became interested in acting while studying at university.

His big break came in 1972 when he played the hot and bubbly Sonny in The Godfather, a role for which he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor as well as a Golden Globe.

He reprized the role in The Godfather II.

Caan also received an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of cancer-stricken Chicago Bears star Brian Piccolo on the ABC series Brian’s Song.

James Caan (center right) as Sonny Corleone with his co-stars
James Caan (center right) as Sonny Corleone with his Godfather co-stars Al Pacino (left), Marlon Brando and John Casale (right)
James Caan (left) with Will Ferrell in Elf.
James Caan (left) with Will Ferrell in Elf.

Other appearances include Honeymoon in Vegas, Bulletproof, Mickey Blue Eyes, Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead and the Christmas comedy Elf, in which he played businessman Will Ferrell’s father.

Kaan has been married four times, most recently to Linda Stokes between 1995 and 2017.

He had five children, one of whom, Scott, followed him into acting, appearing in Ocean’s Eleven, Gone in 60 Seconds and the Hawaii Five-0 reboot.

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