Francis Ford Coppola Paid Tribute To ‘One Of The Funniest People I’ve Ever Known’ James Caan: ‘Will Never Be Forgotten’

Following the sad news of James Caan‘s death at age 82, his Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola has released a statement to Deadline celebrating the actor who made an indelible mark on Coppola’s films.

“Jimmy was someone who stretched through my life longer and closer than any motion picture figure I’ve ever known,” Coppola said. “From those earlier times working together on The Rain People, and throughout all the milestones of my life, his films and the many great roles he played will never be forgotten. He will always be my old friend from Sunnyside, my collaborator and one of the funniest people I’ve ever known.”

In true Coppola fashion, he’s used the moment to draw attention to one of their early collaboration that might otherwise be overlooked as people focus on Caan’s more-famous work. It’s well worth taking the hint. In The Rain People, Caan plays Jimmy “Killer” Kilgannon, a discarded college football star who serendipitously falls in with a pregnant woman (played by Shirley Knight) on a cross-country road trip trying to outrun her domestic life. Roger Ebert gave it four stars when it came out in 1969, praising its experimental nature and status as carving out a new American style. It’s an excellent addition to your memorial Caan binge-fest.

(via Deadline)