“What a terrible and tragic loss,” Mann wrote in a statement to Variety. “Jimmy was not just a great actor with total commitment and a venturesome spirit, but he had a vitality in the core of his being that drove everything from his art and friendship to athletics and very good times. There was a core of values within him about how people should be, more or less. It might be variable, the corners could be rounded with urban irony, but there was a line and it was non-fungible. And it produced many outrageous and hilarious anecdotes. “
Mann and Caan worked together on the 1991 crime film “Thief.” Caan starred as Frank, a highly skilled jewel thief and safe cracker. The movie was Mann’s first feature film, kicking off a long and successful career in Hollywood.
“I loved him and I loved working with him,” Mann continued. “He reached into the core of his being during difficult personal times to be the rebellious, half wild child, institutionalized outsider Frank, in my first film, ‘Thief.’ Frank is half Frank, half Jimmy. The character and the man — like his Sonny in ‘The Godfather’ — were made for each other. Unique. What a loss.”
Kathy Bates, who starred alongside Caan in the 1990 thriller “Misery,” also shared fond memories of Caan in a statement.
“I can’t believe Jimmy’s gone,” she wrote. “Working with him on ‘Misery’ was one of the most profound experiences of my career. When you watch his performance, his terror, it’s as though he’s watching a snake. Brilliant. So many memories flooding back today. Jimmy saying, ‘Let’s get the most hyper guy in Hollywood and make him stay in bed for 15 weeks.’ We were so excited when we got to shoot in the dining room. He was kind. Hilarious. He would have something insightfully funny to say right now. I’m bereft. Sending all my love to the Caan family.”