The legendary director made a statement to Deadline after the star's passing on Wednesday at the age of 82, calling Cann, “one of the funniest people” he’s ever known. James had appeared in Francis’ films The Rain People and The Godfather. "Jimmy was someone who stretched through my life longer and closer than any motion picture figure I've ever known. From those earlier times working together on The Rain People, and throughout all the milestones of my life, his films and the many great roles he played will never be forgotten."
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