Close up James Caan smiling

As millions mourn the tragic death of James Cann, many remember him for his iconic role as a gangster. Caan became legendary as Sonny Corleone in "The Godfather" alongside Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, and Robert De Niro. Caan was so good at playing a gangster that some people accused him of being in the mafia. In a 2004 interview with Vanity Fair (via New York Times), Caan said, "I’ve been accused so many times … I won ‘Italian of the Year’ twice in New York, and I’m not Italian." According to The Times, the Queens-born actor is Jewish but got his "bad boy" reputation after getting married and divorced four times, and for his run-ins with the police, as well as testifying on behalf of one of his friends from Queens.

In 2011, the New York Post reported that Caan’s old friend Andrew Russo was accused of being part of a Brooklyn mafia gang. The two were so tight that Russo was the actual godfather of the actor’s son, Scott. Caan showed his loyalty when he told the Post, "My friendship with Andrew Russo dates back over 35 years, and I’ve only known him to be as good a friend as anyone could be to me and my family."

"The Godfather" crew, along with actors Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, and Paul Sorvino from "Goodfellas," are among the most iconic gangster characters in modern movie history. For this reason, Caan’s tweet after his friend Liotta died is even more heartbreaking now.

Ray Liotta and James Caan