RIP James Caan, 82, born in the Bronx to German-Jewish immigrants, reared in Sunnyside, Queens. There are 137 titles under his name at IMDb, career spanning 1961 to the present, his last work to be released posthumously. He was equally at home on the big or small screen, and surprisingly adept at comedy. He played football at Michigan St., earned a black belt in karate and performed in rodeo for nine years. He began in theater, off-Broadway productions. He will probably be remembered most for his turn as the hot-headed Sonny Corleone in The Godfather (1972), for which he received an Oscar nomination for his supporting role. He was even better in Thief (1980), one of the all-time great crime films. And he was the co-star of one of the most popular TV movies ever, Brian’s Song, playing Piccolo, the cancer-stricken Bears’ fullback. Other highlights: Freebie and the Bean (1974), The Gambler (1974), The Killer Elite (1975), Chapter Two (1979), Dick Tracy (1990), Misery (1990), Honeymoon in Vegas (1992), Bottle Rocket (1996) and Dogville (2003). He did 88 episodes of the TV series Vegas and 13 of Back in the Game. Married four times, he is a father of five. Here’s a quote attributed to him: “I’ll bump into a guy in a bar, and he’ll say, ‘I’m sorry, Sonny!’ It’s surreal.” Well done, sir. Thank you. Here he is in character in Thief:
Will the Manhattan bodega worker who stabbed a creep to death in what appears to be self-defense be released, as so many violent NYC criminals have, or will he remain behind bars? In that same vein, headline from nypost.com: “More than 300 fugitives busted in NYC as part of US Marshals’ ‘Operation North Star’.” And a quote from the accompanying article by Tina Moore and Mark Lungariello: “They have to be prosecuted. They have to be detained.” Yes, otherwise what is the point?
Amusing, unsurprising NYP headline: “How much does it cost NYC to plant a tree? A tree-mendous $3,600!” Leave it to politicians. And another: “Driving us crazy: Limousine liberals won’t be hit by congestion pricing — but middle-class New Yorkers will.” Bet on it.
New book available:
There was a cool breeze blowing along Avenue Z today. Although it occasionally played havoc with DVDs and small books, it was most welcome. I wasn’t exhausted after I closed down. My thanks to the lovely young teacher who bought four instructionals for elementary school students, and to Sam, who jumped on a Lucille Ball bio; and to the old-timer who selected Treasure Hunt by John Lescroart; and to the woman who chose Goddess of Vengeance and Married Lovers, both by Jackie Collins; and to Ira, who took home The Mars Mystery: The Secret Connection Between Earth and the Red Planet by Graham Hancock; and to the young Macedonian, who returned for more classics: The Classic Fairy Tales, and Ham on Rye and Women, both by Charles Bukowski. To my surprise, there is a Macedonian language, and he speaks two others, neither of them Greek, also surprising.
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