‘Homeland’ Actor James Rebhorn Passes Away at 65

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James Rebhorn in Basic Instinct Homeland Actor James Rebhorn Passes Away at 65
A very familiar face to television and film audiences of the past four decades has passed away. Actor James Rebhorn, perhaps best known to current audiences for his role as FBI Special Agent Reese Hughes on USA’s White Collar and on Homeland as the father of CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), passed away Friday at the age of 65.

Rebhorn died after a long battle with melanoma, which he was first diagnosed with in 1992. He passed surrounded by his family at his home in South Orange, New Jersey.

His representative Dianne Busch of Leading Artist told Deadline: “He was a wonderful, wonderful man. I represented him since 1990, and I represented him for my entire career.”

Busch went on to praise Rebhorn’s character and career choices, saying:

“He was an absolute joy to work with. He was very funny and was warm. He was drawn to projects with a social conscience. One of his favorite movies that he did was ‘Lorenzo’s Oil’ because it made a difference. He had a very strong faith and loved his family. His family was extremely important to him and I saw him make career sacrifices for them.”

James Robert Rebhorn was born on September 1, 1948 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His family moved to Indiana while he was a child and he went on to study political science at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio before moving to New York City. He graduated from Columbia University’s School of Arts with an MFA in acting.

James Rebhorn with Michael Douglas in The Game Homeland Actor James Rebhorn Passes Away at 65

James Rebhorn with Michael Douglas in ‘The Game’

Rebhorn began his career on the stage, recently starring in Too Much, Too Much, Too Many at New York’s Roundabout Theater Company, and also appeared in the original stage production of I’m Not Rapaport along with revivals of Our Town and 12 Angry Men. He debuted on television in the 1980s with roles on Guiding LightAs The World TurnsSpencer For HireThe Equalizer, Law & Order, and many more, including several Kojak TV movies.

Rebhorn was a prominent and prolific character actor, and appeared in dozens of film roles, the most notable of them being the Secretary of Defense in Independence Day, his pivotal role as the smarmy, shady Jim Feingold in David Fincher’s The Game, his uptight, patrician plastic surgeon in Meet The Parents, and the shipping magnate Herbert Greenleaf, who set Matt Damon’s Tom Ripley on his serial killing path in The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Rebhorn was one of the best character actors in the business, and specialized in roles requiring a certain air of WASP-ish authority – doctors, lawyers, politicians, and so on. He was equally adept at drama and comedy; just watch his guest role as a weirdo dentist on 30 Rock or, better yet, as Democratic Senator Bill Arnot in Chris Rock’s Head of State, in which he puts director-writer-star Rock’s unknown alderman up as the first black Presidential candidate in order to (somehow) clear the path for himself.

The plan backfires, much to the delightfully droll Rebhorn’s horror – he switches from charming to manipulative to fuming so brilliantly that his performance is one of the best things about that movie.

James Rebhorn and Matt Damon in The Talented Mr. Ripley Homeland Actor James Rebhorn Passes Away at 65

James Rebhorn and Matt Damon in ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’

Rebhorn’s most recent well-known turns on White Collar and Homeland have proven to be as memorable as anything in his career. His role as Carrie’s father Frank Mathison was a riveting scene-stealer. Like his daughter, Frank suffered from bipolar disorder, but unlike his daughter, he learned to manage his illness, though toward the end of his life could not live alone. Frank existed as something of a future mirror for Carrie, but also a comfort. He was never less than subtle and terrific in a difficult role.

James Rebhorn was a warm, welcome presence in everything he appeared in, and even if his name was not readily known to everyone in the crowd, we were always happy to see him. He is survived by his wife, Rebecca Linn, and their daughters Hannah and Emma.

Everyone here at Screen Rant would like to express our sincere and heartfelt condolences to James Rebhorn’s family and friends in this sad time.


R.I.P. James Robert Rebhorn: September 1, 1948 – March 21, 2014

Source: Deadline

Follow Anthony Vieira on Twitter @malaclyptic
TAGS: Obituaries
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  1. I loved this actor whenever he appeared onscreen. A real working man’s actor and his presence will be missed.

  2. He is one of those character actors who come with an assurance that the audience will accept him in whatever form he takes on screen. Truly talented and one that no one could deny that he could do full justice to a role he accepted. Many a times I have faces of so many talented character actors, who’ve made there own places in everyones hearts, etched in my mind but can’t remember their names. However, we always remember them and will do so by the character they played. That alone is an achievement that is par excellence and in doing so they’ve come to own that/those character(s) for a generation. Here’s a salute to those character actors like James Rebhorn, who make the movies and scenes a pure delight to watch and remember. RIP James Rebhorn!

  3. That sucks! He was in a ton of the greatest movies in history.

  4. I am saddened to hear a very interesting actor pass away especially one that I enjoy seeing working. He will be missed but never forgotten.

  5. That’s very sad.

  6. I remember seeing him in the film The Game and have always enjoyed his presences in any film after that including the recent Homeland series. I’m so sad to see him go.

  7. 65 – Damn that’s nothing, nothing at all.

    Such a shame, good actor, up there with Brian Cox as THE go to guy for a dodgy government spook.

    Had that “authority” about him when he’s on screen, you just know he knows more than he’s telling.

    Well that both sucks and blows for a Monday morning.

  8. I was hoping the article would mention his role as the prosecuting attorney on the Seinfeld season finale, pushing hard for justice and “The Good Samaritan Law”. R.I.P. Loved “The Game”.

  9. RIP,so good in Independence day.

  10. It always seemed that when James Rebhorn was in a movie he helped elevate it to the next level. Seeing the list of movies and shows he was in proves his was a great career. I will miss his presence on-screen. He had the best line near the end of “The Game”

  11. Will always remember him for playing Pacino’s foil in Scent of a Woman and Carlito’s Way – RIP

  12. R.I.P. to the man who put the cast of Seinfeld in jail.

  13. I will miss actor James Rebhorn; who played retired FBI Director of White Collar Division in NYC on T.V. Show ‘White Collar,’ who always looked out for FBI Special Agent Peter Burke. Mr. Rebhorn had a great voice on screen, to bad he never did any voice work on animated films, it would have been ‘Wonderful.’ My heart and Prayers goes out to Mr. Rebhorn’s family.

  14. He’ll always be Mr. Trask to me.

  15. first Harold Ramis now this? is 2014 going to be the year of greatest actor deaths? :( R.I.P to both great actors