Prolific film and television actor James Rebhorn died at his home in South Orange, New Jersey on Friday. According to his wife, Rebecca Lin, Rebhorn succumbed to a long battle with melanoma, with which he was diagnosed in 1992. The actor was 65 years old.
Rebhorn, who has been a professional actor for nearly five decades, has appeared in more than a hundred movies and TV shows over his illustrious career. He was most recently known as Frank Mathison, the father of Claire Danes’ character in the hit political TV thriller “Homeland”. Rebhorn also starred in the 1999 psychological thriller The Talented Mr. Ripley as shipping magnate Herbert Greenleaf and in the 1992 comedy film My Cousin Vinny as an expert witness.
The versatile actor, was however, known for playing stringent and serious characters given his tall and slim stature, as well as his piercing expression. He can also be remembered for his role as the headmaster in the 1992 dramatic film Scent of a Woman and the Secretary of Defense in the 1996 science fiction disaster film Independence Day.
Philly-native Rebhorn was a devout Lutheran who finished a degree in political science and a Master of Fine Arts in acting from Columbia University in New York City. He played the lead roles at his university’s production of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata and Moliére’s Tricks of Scapin.
Several well-known names in Hollywood like Tom Arnold and Patton Oswalt paid their respects to Rebhorn through messages posted on Twitter. Arnold’s tweet said “you didn’t know him, but trust me, you knew him”, while Oswalt declared on behalf of movie fans everywhere that Rebhorn would “always be there and be great”.
— Tom Arnold (@TomArnold) March 23, 2014
Rebhorn was also active in the theater scene, appearing on Broadway in several plays including the successful revival of the 1954 television play 12 Angry Men in 2004. He also played an Alzheimer-stricken character in Too Much, Too Much, Too Many at New York City’s Roundabout Theatre Company.
An interview with James Rebhorn
Image via Wikimedia Commons