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James Caan Dead at 82 — The Actor's Personal Life Included Him Filing to Divorce His 4TH Wife 3 Times

Gaone Pule
Jul 08, 2022
02:30 P.M.
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Late legendary Hollywood star James Caan wed four times in his lifetime. His first three marriages were short-lived, but his fourth lasted nearly two decades and cost him dearly financially.

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Elite actor James Caan had an illustrious film career that spanned 60 years. His most notable roles included stints on 1972's "The Godfather," the 1990 horror film "Misery," and the family comedy movie "Elf" (2003), respectively.

Caan made several TV appearances, and one of his memorable roles was starring as Ed Deline in the dramedy series "Las Vegas," which ran for five seasons from 2003 to 2008 on NBC.

Actor James Caan arriving to Hollywood Life Magazine's 9th annual Young Hollywood Awards at the Music Box at the Fonda April 22, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

Actor James Caan arriving to Hollywood Life Magazine's 9th annual Young Hollywood Awards at the Music Box at the Fonda April 22, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

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The Academy Award nominee also had a busy personal life, having been married four times. Caan's first marriage was to actress Dee Jay Mathis known for her role in "Frankie and Johnny" (1966).

Caan and Mathis wed in 1961 and were considered Hollywood's 'it' couple. The pair welcomed a daughter named Tara. However, they parted ways two years later, in 1966, following five years of marriage. It remains unclear what led to the dissolution of their union.

James Caan pictured with his wife actress Dee Jay Mathis during a party in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

James Caan pictured with his wife actress Dee Jay Mathis during a party in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

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Caan later remarried on January 12, 1976, to Playboy model Sheila Ryan. The actress was the magazine's cover girl in October 1973 and had previously dated singer Elvis Presley before settling down with Caan.

The former couple welcomed one child, a son named Scott. But Ryan and Caan's marriage was only brief, as they divorced a year later in 1977.

James Caan pictured with his wife model and actress Sheila Ryan in 1970 in New York. / Source: Getty Images

James Caan pictured with his wife model and actress Sheila Ryan in 1970 in New York. / Source: Getty Images

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Caan gave marriage another shot when he wed for the third time with Ingrid Hajek in 1990. The four-time Emmy nominee was 20 years older than his bride at age 49 when they said their 'I dos.'

They dated for two years before getting hitched aboard the Regentsea yacht in Marina Del Ray. Caan and Hajek were initially introduced by mutual pals.

James Caan photographed with his wife Ingrid Hajek and his son Scott Caan during the premiere of "For The Boys" on November 14, 1991 at the Academy Theater in Beverly Hills, California. / Source: Getty Images

James Caan photographed with his wife Ingrid Hajek and his son Scott Caan during the premiere of "For The Boys" on November 14, 1991 at the Academy Theater in Beverly Hills, California. / Source: Getty Images

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Interestingly, the couple grew up in the same neighborhood, notably Sunnyside in Queens, New York – but in different decades. Sadly, their union ended in 1995.

However, that was not the last time he became a man married. His fourth marriage made him file for divorce more than once, putting strain on his finances.

CAAN'S FOURTH MARRIAGE OUTLASTED HIS FIRST THREE

James Caan and his wife Linda Stokes during 1996 Carousel of Hope in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

James Caan and his wife Linda Stokes during 1996 Carousel of Hope in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

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Undeterred, Caan wed for the fourth time to costume designer Linda Stokes the same year he ended his third marriage in 1955.

Stokes made quite an impression in the fashion sphere in the 1980s with her futuristic innovations, gaining celebrity clientele. She has her own company called LSO Designs (Linda Stokes Originals).

Also an actress, Stokes is known for the 2011 horror movie "The Fields" and 2000's "Punks." Stokes and Caan welcomed two sons, Jacob and James, within their marriage.

James Caan pictured with Scott Caan and relative during the premiere of "Misery" at Mann Village Theater on November 29, 1990 in Westwood, California. / Source: Getty Images

James Caan pictured with Scott Caan and relative during the premiere of "Misery" at Mann Village Theater on November 29, 1990 in Westwood, California. / Source: Getty Images

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The union was far from perfect, as the pair had an on-and-off relationship throughout their time together. In 2005, Caan filed for divorce from Stokes, but the two never went ahead with it.

The "Thief" star filed for divorce from the mother of his children for the second time in November 2009 and cited "irreconcilable differences." Caan asked for joint custody of the couple's sons, who were 14 and 11 at the time. Still, he and Stokes stuck it out again.

However, when Caan filed for divorce for the third time in 2015, citing irreconcilable differences, it was for good this time. The father of five asked to retain joint custody of his children with Stokes, who were 16 and 19 then. But he asked to terminate financial support with his then-estranged wife.

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James Caan and sons James Jr. and Jake during "Elf" special screening at The Grove Theater in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

James Caan and sons James Jr. and Jake during "Elf" special screening at The Grove Theater in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

During the divorce process, Caan revealed that Stokes continuously asked him for money, ultimately leading to him forcibly accepting low-budget roles to provide.

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He had expressed that he wanted to retire, but because Stokes was splurging most of his savings, he was pressured to keep working to pay the bills.

At the time, the New York native was already experiencing health issues at age 75 and wanted to bow out of Hollywood graciously. He stated Stokes ruined his career by trying to bleed him dry as he ended up in poor-quality movies.

James Caan during "The Godfather" 50th Anniversary Celebration at Paramount Theatre on February 22, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

James Caan during "The Godfather" 50th Anniversary Celebration at Paramount Theatre on February 22, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

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In addition to working reluctantly, Stokes demanded custody of the couple's then-16-year-old son Jacob even though Caan said he wanted joint physical and legal custody. She also pressed for spousal support, which Caan refused. The pair did not have a prenup.

When their divorce was finalized in 2017, the four-time Golden Globe nominee had to fork out $400,000 in back payments, including $8,000 per month.

The amount included paying Stokes $5,000 monthly in spousal support until she remarried or either one of them died. Another sum was $3,000 for child support.

James Caan and Linda Stokes during the 18th Annual American Cinematheque Award - Arrivals and Press Room at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. / Source: Getty Images

James Caan and Linda Stokes during the 18th Annual American Cinematheque Award - Arrivals and Press Room at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. / Source: Getty Images

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Even amidst all the back and forth between the estranged couple, Caan still valued Stokes and spoke highly of her, saying he would forever be indebted to her:

"Linda is a beautiful woman who gave me two beautiful sons, which helped enrich my life tremendously, and I'll always be indebted to her for that."

James Caan and Linda Stokes attending "Holy Lands" Paris premiere at Cinema UGC Normandie on December 04, 2018 in Paris, France. / Source: Getty Images

James Caan and Linda Stokes attending "Holy Lands" Paris premiere at Cinema UGC Normandie on December 04, 2018 in Paris, France. / Source: Getty Images

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In January 2016, Caan stated in court documents that he was in bad health and needed some ailments. But on to that, he wanted to increase custody time with his youngest son, Jake, who was 17 then:

"I would like for Jake to spend at least 50 percent of his time with me, as I will be available to parent him and produce the necessary provisions a teenage boy needs."

Caan claimed that he was spending $96,840 annually on the couple's eldest son, James, a university student at the time. Moreover, he said that he spent $60,900 per year on Jake.

THE SAD PASSING OF CAAN

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James Caan posing for a portrait for the movie "Henry's Crime" during the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival in Guess Portrait Studio at Hyatt Regency Hotel on September 14, 2010 in Toronto, Canada. / Source: Getty Images

James Caan posing for a portrait for the movie "Henry's Crime" during the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival in Guess Portrait Studio at Hyatt Regency Hotel on September 14, 2010 in Toronto, Canada. / Source: Getty Images

Also known as Jimmy, Caan sadly passed away on July 6, 2022. His family announced the heartbreaking news on Twitter in a statement that read:

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"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."

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Caan died at age 82, and his cause of death had not been disclosed when news broke. The movie titan is survived by five adult children, four sons, and a daughter. His first-born child Tara arrived in November 1964 and has led a private life thus far.

Caan's oldest son Scott was born in August 1976 and, unlike his half-sister, has followed in their father's footsteps by pursuing acting. He has become a household name in his own right while continuing his father's legacy and is the most famous of the siblings.

 James Caan and his son Scott Caan Jr. arriving at the premiere of "Mercy" at the Egyptian Theater on May 3, 2010 in Hollywood, California. / Source: Getty Images

James Caan and his son Scott Caan Jr. arriving at the premiere of "Mercy" at the Egyptian Theater on May 3, 2010 in Hollywood, California. / Source: Getty Images

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Caan welcomed his third child Alexander in April 1991, who also happens to be an actor but has yet to make appearances in big productions. He is also a musician per his Soundcloud page.

Meanwhile, James Jr. arrived in November 1995 and has been previously spotted out and about his now-late famous dad. Just like his half-sister Tara, he lives life out of the limelight.

Caan's youngest son Jacob was born in September 1998, and like his older brother James, he has accompanied his father to several show business events. Still, he has also taken a step back away from the prying eyes of Hollywood.

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