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"He was a lucky man in every way."
March 25, 2014 2:37 PM   Subscribe

James Rebhorn, an actor often playing a man in a suit, Dies at 65 after a 12-year struggle with skin cancer.
Mr. Rebhorn had memorable supporting roles in major films and worked consistently in television and theater. He appeared in more than 50 films, including “Meet the Parents,” “Independence Day,” “My Cousin Vinny” and “Cold Mountain.”
He penned his own obituary which can be read here.
posted by Fizz (58 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by Iridic at 2:41 PM on March 25


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Among his many fine performances, I will actually remember him for this fun scene.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:44 PM on March 25 [11 favorites]


From James Rebhorn's obituary: "He hopes, however, that they will grieve his passing only as long as necessary. They have much good work to do, and they should get busy doing it. Time is flying by."

What grace.
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:44 PM on March 25 [20 favorites]


Thank you for making this post. Jim was a friend of my wife and I. Great actor, very nice guy.
posted by blaneyphoto at 2:44 PM on March 25 [27 favorites]


One of my favorite character actors. Loved him especially in The Game.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:45 PM on March 25 [6 favorites]


Rebhorn is one of those many, many unsung character actors that always make me perk up when I see their name or face onscreen since they unfailingly manage to add class and quality to whatever joint they're in. What a lovely self-obit, too! So long, Jim, good to know ya.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:45 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]


Great actor. His obit was lovely. Good work, Mr. Rebhorn!

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posted by but no cigar at 2:48 PM on March 25


Condolences, blaneyphoto.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:51 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]


Great actor, and clearly an even greater man. His obit is amazing, and a document of a life well lived.
posted by scody at 2:52 PM on March 25


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posted by oceanjesse at 2:57 PM on March 25


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posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:57 PM on March 25


That's a very dusty obituary. I was struck at how well it talks about those who lived through his passing.

Loved him in White Collar, too.
posted by mikurski at 2:57 PM on March 25


That obituary is so extremely dusty.

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posted by sweetkid at 3:00 PM on March 25


I remember being impressed with his playing Harrison Storms in the "From the Earth to the Moon" HBO series, where he sat in a chair and cried after hearing the news about the dead astronauts. Great actor.
posted by Melismata at 3:03 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


One of my favorite "Hey It's That Guy"s ever. Loved him in the Sarah Plain and Tall Hallmark series; loved him in White Collar.

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posted by tzikeh at 3:03 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


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posted by blurker at 3:05 PM on March 25


Poking around in his filmography, I discovered that his first prominent gig was the 1980 slasher film He Knows You're Alone, which also happened to be Tom Hanks' first prominent gig. Click through for a rare picture of Rebhorn with a thick mop of chestnut hair!
posted by Iridic at 3:10 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]


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posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:13 PM on March 25


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posted by foxhat10 at 3:14 PM on March 25


I don't know the names of most familiar character actors, but he really made an impact on me starting with The Game. What a lovely obit. Glad to see this post.
posted by Mchelly at 3:26 PM on March 25


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posted by Thorzdad at 3:37 PM on March 25


He's been playing Carrie's father, also struggling with biopolar, in Homeland. He did a really great job in that role.

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posted by SpacemanStix at 3:47 PM on March 25


Just to clarify, he played a character struggling with bipolar, like the main character.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:01 PM on March 25


To me, he'll always be George Wilbur (the expert witness in My Cousin Vinny) because I love that movie and he's perfect in the role.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:02 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


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posted by TwoStride at 4:06 PM on March 25


I didn't even know his name until I saw he had passed, but the moment I saw his picture I was like, "Yes! That guy!"

He was a really terrific character actor. I'll be the third person in this thread to comment specifically on his performance in The Game - and I don't know - I haven't seen the movie in years and I don't remember anything particularly noteworthy about his performance, but when I think of him I instantly think of that role for some reason...

I was very sad to hear this, and found his obituary very touching.
posted by kbanas at 4:07 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


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posted by jquinby at 4:13 PM on March 25


Not a movie star, a great actor. Always enjoyed his work.

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posted by davebush at 4:20 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]


I don't remember anything particularly noteworthy about his performance

That's what made him one of the all-time top Hey It's That Guy In A Suits -- Rebhorn rarely played his authority figures as mustache-twirling villains. He was just this guy who happened to be in the way of (or sometimes helping out) the hero, doing his job and going home at the end of the day.
posted by Etrigan at 4:20 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


See you in the CRS canteen, Mr. Rebhorn.
posted by Mapes at 4:21 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


He was one of my favourite character actors. I'm sorry to hear he's gone, but I was glad to read in his obit that his life was so full of love and happiness. Blaneyphoto, I'm sorry for your loss and I'm not surprised to hear he was a good guy in real life.

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posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 4:35 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]


How great to be able to write that about his own life-- both having the time to say goodbye, and also the wisdom to have few regrets. I will certainly take it as a fine example for my own conduct.

Also, what is a "dusty" obituary? Two people have mentioned it, but my google prowess only returns information about Dusty Springfield's death, which I think is not what they meant.
posted by seasparrow at 4:38 PM on March 25


Also, what is a "dusty" obituary?

"There must be some dust in here" = this moving thing is making me tear up or sniffle.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:41 PM on March 25 [6 favorites]


I'll also note his performance in The Game. Just something about the way he played his role in that film - perfectly done, understated yet the viewer was left with the feeling there was more to his character, and to CRS, than what there appeared to be.

Such a beautiful obituary - this part really impacted on me:

"His children made him immensely proud. Their dedication to improving our species and making the world a better place gave him hope for the future. They deal with grief differently, and they should each manage it as they see fit. He hopes, however, that they will grieve his passing only as long as necessary. They have much good work to do, and they should get busy doing it. Time is flying by."

Very very well written. Bravo on a life well lived Mr Rebhorn.
posted by chris88 at 4:49 PM on March 25


He got to go up against Al Pacino in one of my favorite scenes of all time.

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posted by Rock Steady at 5:08 PM on March 25


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posted by Smart Dalek at 5:39 PM on March 25


The Game - and I don't know - I haven't seen the movie in years and I don't remember anything particularly noteworthy about his performance, but when I think of him I instantly think of that role for some reason...

He was just so perfectly there in the role: a guy showing up a little rushed, a little late, his take-out leaking a little bit. Some of that is the writing, of course, but Rebhorn inhabited that character so thoroughly, so naturally, that he gave depth and texture and absolute concrete reality to the whole enterprise. I don't love The Game, but I think Rebhorn's performance in it is one of the great examples of how a seemingly small part adds layers and reality to a film.

In my household, the most frequently quoted Rebhorn character, hands-down, is his "30 Rock" Dr. Kaplan, the oral surgeon who gets so tired of Liz Lemon asking “When can I eat hard cheeses again?” that he has a pamphlet entitled “Hard Cheeses and Your Root Canal, Liz” printed up just for her.

When Liz vexes him, he withholds her turn at the good-patient treat bin, costing her the wind-up Batman she’s had her eye on. Every once in a while chez Elsa, when one of us has eaten the last cupcake or gone on an errand without the other, we'll add insult to injury with the same satisfied last sting he issues: “Yeeeeah, and if you wind him up, he swims in the bath.”

Goodbye, James Rebhorn, and thank you. I guess I don't need to wish you peace. You already had it.
posted by Elsa at 5:44 PM on March 25 [12 favorites]


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posted by leslies at 5:46 PM on March 25


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posted by GrammarMoses at 6:05 PM on March 25


One of the few 'character actors' that I knew by name and got excited when I saw his name in the credits. I'm also among the people who first took note of him after watching The Game.

And, while I pretty much hated the rest of the movie, I thought he was hilarious in Meet the Parents.
posted by MoonOrb at 6:16 PM on March 25


"That's not entirely accurate," is a catch phrase I use all the time.

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:31 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


Oh no - ! My law firm just had a party today and when one of the partners decided we should put a DVD on in one of the conference rooms, I insisted on My Cousin Vinny, in no small part because of the expert direct & cross examination sequence between Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei, and Mr. Rebhorn. He was brilliant. He will be missed.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 7:07 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]


He was always very tidily inside his characters, and to read that obit and learn he was a stage actor "who tried to be in a play every year" makes me think of him in a whole new way -- and really wish I could have seen him onstage!

Does anyone know whether any of his stage plays are available on video or YouTube?

Bless you, sir: thanks for your work.

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posted by wenestvedt at 7:17 PM on March 25


His unions were always there for him, and he will remain forever grateful for the benefits he gained as a result of the union struggle.

That is damn classy.

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posted by allthinky at 7:28 PM on March 25 [10 favorites]


He'll be missed, a great actor and that obituary is a case study in grace.

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posted by arcticseal at 7:36 PM on March 25


I thought the same thing, allthinky.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:01 PM on March 25


James Rebhorn, an actor often playing a man in a suit

Yeah, but he did a great job at it. The Bruce Willis of "man in a suit".

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posted by sbutler at 8:26 PM on March 25


A credit in every way to his craft. As one of my favorite character actors, he'll be missed.

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posted by _paegan_ at 8:34 PM on March 25


You know, when someone said the phrase character actor, as it turns out, his was the face I invariably saw in my minds' eye.

That's putting your stamp on your profession, right there.

Fair winds and following seas, Mr. Rebhorn.
posted by pjern at 11:52 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


His work on homeland has moved me to tears. It hit so close to home. Please remember to wear sunscreen folks.
posted by nestor_makhno at 2:48 AM on March 26


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posted by Gelatin at 3:13 AM on March 26


Yeah, one of the greats for what he did. And a really moving obituary.

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posted by gauche at 4:11 AM on March 26


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posted by Halloween Jack at 4:50 AM on March 26


I was so sad when I saw this - more sad than when I see the news about the death of most other actors. He's been in so many movies that I've seen and enjoyed. Most recently I've really loved his character in Homeland but when I see him I always, always think of his great character in one of my old favorites, The Talented Mr. Ripley. The privileged and unsuspecting father who trusted old Tom Ripley up to the end.

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posted by triggerfinger at 6:47 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


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posted by urbanwhaleshark at 7:39 AM on March 26


Hey, it was that guy.


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posted by tilde at 9:23 AM on March 26


I've been waiting for someone to note his passing here. I always liked him because he made the game of "What else did I see him in?" so much fun.

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posted by LizBoBiz at 10:35 AM on March 26


I always enjoyed him in Law and Order.

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posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:56 PM on March 26


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