“I’m so sorry to hear about Jimmy,” Streisand wrote on Twitter and Instagram alongside a black-and-white photo of the pair in the 1970s. “He was so talented.”
Caan and Streisand co-starred in Funny Lady, a sequel to the movie musical Funny Girl, which marked Streisand’s film debut in 1968. The 1975 film followed Fanny Brice’s marriage to songwriter and producer Billy Rose (Caan).
According to film legend (as told by TCM), actor Robert Blake was in the running to play Rose, but Caan secured the role instead because, as Streisand told a reporter, “It comes down to who the audience wants me to kiss. Robert Blake, no. James Caan, yes. And he has to be able to talk as fast as me.”
On the Funny Lady soundtrack, Caan sang two songs: “Me and My Shadow” and “It’s Only a Paper Moon”/”I Like Her.” The album, one of the first releases on Arista Records, reached the top 10 on the Billboard 200 in May 1975.
Caan’s family announced his death earlier Thursday (July 7) via the actor’s Twitter account. “It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Jimmy 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.”
The actor will likely be best remembered for his role as the volatile Sonny Corleone in 1972’s The Godfather and is familiar to modern-day movie audiences as the gruff dad to Will Ferrell’s goofy Buddy in 2003’s Elf.
See Streisand’s tribute to Caan below.