Last Updated: September 5, 2023
Richest CelebritiesActors
Net Worth:
$20 Million
Date of Birth:
Mar 26, 1940 - Jul 6, 2022 (82 years old)
Place of Birth:
The Bronx
5 ft 9 in (1.76 m)
Actor, Singer, Voice Actor
United States of America
💰 Compare James Caan's Net Worth

What was James Caan's Net Worth and Salary?

James Caan was an American actor who had a net worth of $20 million at the time of his death in July 2022. James Caan made his big screen debut in 1963's "Irma la Douce," then played a dying football player in the 1971 made-for-television movie "Brian's Song," a performance that fetched him rave reviews and an Emmy nomination. His turn as mafia boss Sonny Corleone in 1972 crime drama "The Godfather" put him permanently on the map and earned him an Oscar nod. James had more than 130 acting credits to his name, including "The Gambler" (1974), "Misery" (1990), and "Elf" (2003). He also starred on NBC's "Las Vegas" from 2003 to 2007.

James Caan died on July 6, 2022, at the age of 82.

Early Life

James Caan was born James Edmund Caan on March 26, 1940, in the Bronx, New York. His parents, Sophie and Arthur, were Jewish immigrants from Germany, and Arthur worked as a butcher. James grew up in Queens with brother Ronnie and sister Barbara, and he attended Michigan State University, where he studied economics and played football, and New York's Hofstra University. Caan became interested in acting while attending Hofstra and decided to apply at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. He was accepted and spent five years there, learning from Sanford Meisner and other masters of the craft.


In 1961, Caan appeared in the Broadway premiere of William and James Goldman's "Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole" and made his television debut in an episode of "Naked City." Two years later, he appeared in his first film, "Irma la Douce," and in 1966, his performance in 1965's "The Glory Guys" earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer. In the 1960s, James also guest-starred on "Route 66" (1961), "The Untouchables" (1962), "Dr. Kildare" (1963), "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (1964), and "Get Smart" (1969) and appeared in the films "Lady in a Cage" (1964), "El Dorado" (1967)," and "Journey to Shiloh" (1968). In 1969, Caan co-starred with Shirley Knight and Robert Duvall in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Rain People," and the following year, he played the lead role in "Brian's Song," which won four Emmys and a Peabody Award.

In 1971, Caan was cast as Sonny Corleone in Coppola's "The Godfather," and the film resulted in Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominations for James, Robert Duvall, and Al Pacino. He followed his Academy Award-nominated role with 1973's "Slither" and "Cinderella Liberty" and 1974's "The Gambler," which earned him a Golden Globe nomination. James had a cameo in "The Godfather Part II" (1974) and earned another Golden Globe nomination for 1975's "Funny Lady," the sequel to 1968's "Funny Girl." He then starred in science fiction film "Rollerball" (1975), teamed up with Duvall again for "The Killer Elite" (1975), and played an Army Staff Sergeant in "A Bridge Too Far" (1977). In 1978, Caan tried his hand at directing, and though "Hide in Plain Sight" wasn't a hit at the box office, it earned praise from critics; he also starred in the film. He was offered roles in several films that went on to become hits, including "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "Apocalypse Now," "Superman," and "The French Connection," but he turned them all down.

James took a break from acting after his sister died of leukemia in November 1981, but he returned to movies in 1987's "Gardens of Stone" after realizing he was broke. He then played a police officer in "Alien Nation" (1998) and Spud Spaldoni in "Dick Tracy" (1990), and in 1992, he earned a Saturn Award nomination for his performance in Stephen King's "Misery." In the 1990s, Caan also appeared in "Honeymoon in Vegas" (1992), "The Program" (1993), "Bottle Rocket" (1996), and "Mickey Blue Eyes" (1999), and he played himself on an episode of NBC sitcom "Newsradio" (1996). In 2003, he co-starred with Will Ferrell in the holiday film "Elf," which was a massive hit, grossing $220.9 million at the box office. That year, James also began starring as "Big Ed" Deline on "Las Vegas," appearing in 88 episodes; he left in 2007 after four seasons on the show. Since leaving "Las Vegas," he has starred in numerous films, including "Get Smart" (2008), "New York, I Love You" (2008), "The Outsider" (2014), and "The Red Maple Leaf" (2016) and lent his voice to "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" (2009) and its 2013 sequel. Caan then played roles in "Wuthering High School" (2015), "The American West" (2016), "JL Ranch" (2016), "Undercover Grandpa" (2017), "Holy Lands" (2017), "Out of Blue" (2018), "Con Man" (2018), "Queen Bees" (2021), and a posthumous release in 2023 titled "Fast Charlie."

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Personal Life

James has been married and divorced four times. He married Dee Jay Mathis in 1961, and they had a daughter, Tara (born in 1964), before divorcing in 1966. Ten years after the divorce, Caan married Sheila Marie Ryan, and they split up in 1977. They welcomed son Scott in August 1976. Scott Caan grew up to be an actor, screenwriter, and director.

James married Ingrid Hajek in September 1990, and they divorced in March 1994; their son Alexander was born in 1991. He also has two sons, James (born in 1995) and Jacob (born in 1998), with Linda Stokes, who he was married to from 1995 to 2017.

Caan was arrested in March 1994 for allegedly pulling a gun on rapper Derek Lee (aka Doc Rapper) during an argument. James struggled with cocaine addiction after his sister's death, and he went to rehab in the summer of 1994. He was an accomplished martial artist, having studied karate for three decades; the International Karate Association named Caan, a 6th degree black belt, Soke Dai, a very prestigious title.

Caan passed away at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles following a heart attack caused by coronary artery disease at the age of 82. At the time of his death, he also had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure.

Annual Royalty Income

During his 2016 divorce proceeding with Linda Stokes, we learned some very interesting nuggets about James' annual royalty income. According to court documents, in 2015 James Caan made over $1 million just from residuals on past performances. In 2015, he made $140,000 in "Elf" residuals alone, a movie that was 13 years old at that point. The two eventually came to an undisclosed settlement which was finalized in 2017. Caan would later tell TMZ:

"Linda is a beautiful woman who gave me 2 beautiful sons, which helped enrich my life tremendously, and I'll always be indebted to her for that." – James Caan

Awards and Honors

In 1973, Caan received nominations from the Academy Awards and Golden Globes for his performance in "The Godfather," and he won a Golden Train Award at the 1972 Faro Island Film Festival (along with co-stars Marlon Brando and Al Pacino). James also earned Golden Globe nominations for "The Glory Guys," "The Gambler," and "Funny Lady." Caan was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for "Brian's Song" in 1972, and he won a Golden Scroll award for "Rollerball" from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films in 1976. He received a Hollywood Film Award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting in 1999 and a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2003 Florida Film Festival. In 2016, the cast of "The Red Maple Leaf" won an Action on Film Award, and Caan received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1978.

Real Estate

In 2003, James paid $2.25 million for a 5,146-square-foot home in Beverly Hills. He sold this home to "Entourage" creator Doug Ellin for $3.8 million in 2015. Perhaps coincidentally, James' son Scott appeared in 19 episodes of "Entourage" between 2009 and 2011.

James Caan Earnings

  • The Godfather: Part II
    $35 Thousand
  • The Godfather
    $35 Thousand
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