James Caan’s ex-girlfriend claims he threatened to kill his mother and abused her just weeks before she died
After learning of the actor’s death in ‘The Godfather’, Leesa Rowland said, “I feel like I’m free and I don’t have to risk anyone hurting me anymore.”
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK:
It has been said that James Caan’s passing has given his ex-girlfriend the confidence to speak out against him. Leesa Rowland has spoken out about the harassment and threats she received from ‘The Godfather’ actor more than a month after his death. Rowland also made alarming revelations about a friend who is believed to have died.
Caan died on July 6 after years of struggling with his health. In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, Rowland said of the 82-year-old after his passing: “I feel like I’m free and I don’t have to worry about someone hurting me anymore. ” The 57-year-old claimed that while their relationship started out amicable, things got worse after mutual friend Mark Schwartz, who was dating Ola Ray at the time, died in 1993.
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Although Schwartz’s death was initially investigated as a homicide, it was ultimately determined to be an accident. Caan was also cleared of all allegations, although Rowland was troubled by some unresolved issues. The actress revealed that Schwartz was with her and Caan the night she died. But the ‘Thief’ actor firmly told him not to talk about it or he’d kill his mother.
According to Rowland, who goes by the name Jimmy, she first met Caan in 1992, when she was 25. The actor, then 52 years old, was already very well known in Hollywood when he started. “When I first met him, I didn’t really know who he was. Jimmy was all he was. He claimed to be a rodeo cowboy, which I initially assumed because he wore a belt buckle from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. But of course he wasn’t. She said he was an actor.
Soon after, the two were romantically involved and began spending time together at his Beverly Hills home and a suite at Le Parc Hotel. He was always charming and kind. The fairy tale phase ended on September 18, 1993, although she claimed they got along well and often hung out. Rowland told DailyMail.com she was at a friend’s flat in the Wilshire Corridor building ‘the night she died’ and added: ‘I was with Jimmy and Mark.
Jimmy and I had been at the apartment since I had an audition the next day, she said. Jimmy called Mark and asked him to print my script. He took it home, printed it out, ordered a pizza and delivered it to the apartment. He talks about it and after spending time with Mark, he calls it “nice and lovely”. He was a roadie for The Gap Band and was 6’3 with a gorgeous face. He eventually wanted to control the music,” she said.
Then, according to Rowland, Schwartz left the area before returning later that evening. She recalls: “We were chatting, laughing and looking at photo albums of him and Ola with another acquaintance. It was good and typical. He wasn’t drunk like the papers claimed. According to the author of “Discovering the It Factor Within You: Developing Your Charismatic Personality”, she fell asleep but woke up “in the morning to kill cops”.
Police claim to have James in another [police] car and did not recognize the body, the woman said. When we get to the apartment, it’s been designated a crime scene. He is the body when they take the fabric out of it and lead us onto the stage. Because of his head injury, I initially thought it was a gunshot. In all my life, I have never seen a dead man, let alone my friend. I was sobbing uncontrollably. I looked up, and it looks so clear that he had fallen off the balcony of the apartment.
Rowland further suggested to detectives that Mark “may have tried to climb the fire escape and fell” because Caan had previously informed police that Schwartz had not entered the apartment and was sleeping when he “fell”. This was noted by the officer, who then took me for a seven hour interrogation. He eventually lost his balance and plummeted to his death, Los Angeles Detective Vic Pietrantoni wrote in his report. It was determined by an autopsy that the fall was the cause of death.
Rowland, who questioned why the man said he didn’t recognize the deceased, was unconvinced by the inquest’s findings. Whoever I met Caan through should know who he is if I have to know who he is. Our whole relationship was affected because I was constantly trying to figure out what happened to Mark.
The ‘Slaughter Daughter’ actress continued, “I had feelings of guilt, thinking that if I hadn’t left the apartment or fallen asleep, he wouldn’t have left. He didn’t never wanted to find out what happened to him. We talked a lot about the incident and saw each other frequently. Jimmy handled the situation well at first, comforted me and made efforts to improve my mood. He was adamant about sleeping through it.
Rowland claimed that after Schwartz died, Caan began abusing drugs and alcohol before entering treatment in 1994. “Escape?” she recalls. It’s clear he fell from the balcony. What’s going on here?” It wasn’t funny for him at all.
“His mood has totally changed and he threatened to kill your mother if he caught you talking, Leesa. He then grabbed my neck with his bare hands and threatened to kill me. He then started hitting me, choking me and going crazy. The door finally opens, and he throws me out into the hallway. I couldn’t help but imagine him torturing Mark. Did Marc experience this? On the other side of the balcony? It was a flashback of Mark being killed as a result of how he dumped me, she said.
Rowland added that she went to the police and “prepared a police report…like life insurance” after leaving Caan’s house. I would have it in case something happened to me. After she filed a lawsuit against him for assault, Gloria Allred, a women’s rights advocate, represented her. She won $86,000 in an out-of-court settlement.
However, his problems didn’t really start there. “I used to get a lot of TV bookings and ask people to pitch me scripts, but it all stopped. I didn’t get any audition offers. I couldn’t or wouldn’t wanted to talk about Jimmy, even though my agent just wanted me to do things by talking about him. I couldn’t explain to them where the abuse came from since I just wanted to do my job. So, I was silent for thirty years,” she added.
According to Rowland, “My whole manner changed after that.” DailyMail.com It was a pivotal moment in my life. I was constantly anxious. The worst part was that I couldn’t speak. I was so worried that someone would infer that I was talking about the incident when I wasn’t. He threatened to kill my mother, but I couldn’t tell anyone. Even now I’m hesitant to talk because I can still hear Jimmy yelling at me that if I do he’ll hit my mom – my mom died in 2003.