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James Rebhorn

James RebhornThe brilliant character actor James Rebhorn died at home with his family on Friday, March 21, at age 65, according to the website of St. Paul Lutheran Church, where he was a longtime member.

The tribute to the actor reads that he is “remembered not so much for his many screen and stage accomplishments as for his firm faith, his strong leadership, his care for others, and his unfailing good humor.”

The late actor was not a household name, but his face was familiar from the many character roles he played over the past four decades. Most recently, he played Carrie Matheson’s (Clare Danes) father Frank in “Homeland.”

Other credits included the television show “Enlightened” (2013), “Coma” (2012), and the movies “Before I Sleep” (2013), “The International” (2009) and “Baby Mama” (2008). There are too many credits to mention. He was also a prominent and consistent presence in the New York theater world.

The church also published his obituary, which was written by the actor himself, with so much heart, humor, humility and wisdom that it’s impossible to disagree with him when he wrote that he was “a lucky man.” Here’s his obituary:

His Life, According to Jim

James Robert Rebhorn was born on Sept. 1, 1948, in Philadelphia, PA. His mother, Ardell Frances Rebhorn, nee Hoch, loved him very much and supported all his dreams. She taught him the value of good manners and courtesy, and that hospitality is no small thing. His father, James Harry Rebhorn, was no less devoted to him. From him, Jim learned that there is no excuse for poor craftsmanship. A job well done rarely takes more or less time than a job poorly done. They gave him his faith and wisely encouraged him to stay in touch with God.

He is survived by his sister, Janice Barbara Galbraith, of Myrtle Beach, SC. She was his friend, his confidant, and, more often than either of them would like to admit, his bridge over troubled waters.

He is also survived by his wife, Rebecca Fulton Linn, and his two daughters, Emma Rebecca Rebhorn and Hannah Linn Rebhorn. They anchored his life and gave him the freedom to live it. Without them, always at the center of his being, his life would have been little more than a vapor. Rebecca loved him with all his flaws, and in her the concept of ceaseless love could find no better example.

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. His son-in-law, Ben, also survives him. Jim loved Ben, who was as a son to Jim, especially through these last months.

His aunts Jean, Dorothy and Florence, numerous cousins and their families, and many devoted friends also survive Jim. He loved them all, and he knows they loved him.

Jim received his BA at Wittenberg University and his MFA at Columbia. He was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha Nu Zeta 624, a life-long Lutheran, and a longtime member of both the AMC and ACLU.

Jim was fortunate enough to earn his living doing what he loved. He was a professional actor. 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. Without his exceptional teachers and the representation of the best agents in the business, he wouldn’t have had much of a career. He was a lucky man in every way.

–Jim Rebhorn, March 2014

James Rebhorn
Claire Danes, Amy Hargreaves  and James Rebhorn in “Homeland” | Showtime
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Paula Schwartz
Paula Schwartz is a veteran journalist based in New York who is passionate about the movies. Her idea of heaven is watching three movies in a row. She’s written for various outlets, including the New York Times, Showbiz411, More and MovieMaker Magazine. For five seasons, she contributed to the New York Times seasonal movie blog, Carpetbaggers, where she covered major awards events and interviewed stars like Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Gary Oldman and Helen Mirren.

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