You might not recognize James Rebhorn’s name, but if you’ve seen a movie of TV show in the last three decades, his face should be familiar–and raise great anger and hatred in you. Rebhorn carved out a career playing attorneys and judges (including on Law & Order and the series finale of Seinfeld), government officials, and rich businessmen, typically with a mean and/or evil streak. And he was very, very good at this job.
Rebhon’s resume reads like a history of modern drama course, starting with soap operas such as The Guiding Light to As the World Turns, TV shows such as The Third Watch, Book of Daniel and Homeland, Broadway plays like I’m Not Rappaport and the 2004 revival of Twelve Angry Men (which I was lucky to have seen. He played Juror #4 and he was fantastic), to a list of films that includes Desperatate Hours, Regarding Henry, My Cousin Vinny, Carlito’s Way, Independence Day and many, many more.
Rebhorn died at his home Friday, where he was receiving hospice care for the effects of melanoma, a disease he was first diagnosed with in 1992. Knowing that the end was near, Rebhorn penned his own obituary. Deadline thought it was worth passing along, and so do I. Here it is.
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