James Caan was born the son of a New York butcher. James was athletically gifted, and played football at Michigan State University. Acting intrigued him, and after gaining acceptance into Sanford Meisner's Neighbourhood Playhouse, Caan won a scholarship to study Wynn Handman. He began to appear in off-Broadway productions, including I Roam & Mandingo. He made his screen debut in Irma la Douce, and went on to impressive roles El Dorado and Journey to Shiloh. It was the heart-rending television movie Brian's Song that really put him on the map. After this, he cemented his screen status as Sonny Corleone in The Godfather and The Godfather II. Throughout the 70's he was hit-and-miss with films like Freebie and the Bean, Funny Lady, Rollerball, Harry and Walter Go to New York, Comes a Horseman, and Chapter Two. He rang in the 80's with Michael Mann's cult-fave, Thief. He has continued working in varied films like Honeymoon in Vegas, For the Boys, Dick Tracy, Alien Nation, and Misery. He returned to television and Sin City in NBC's drama series, Las Vegas. Caan holds a black belt in karate. He was even a regular on the rodeo circuit, and he earned the nickname The Jewish Cowboy.