Home Movies James Rebhorn, Prolific and Spectacular Character Actor, Dead at 65

I’m very sorry to report the death of prolific and spectacular character James Rebhorn. He was 65, and well known to movie, TV, and theater fans as a dynamic performer who could literally do anything and always get it right. Soap opera fans will know his name and face from “Guiding Light” and “As the World Turns,” where he played unrepentant and scary villains. Rebhorn also appeared in seven Broadway productions including “I’m Not Rappaport”  and “Prelude to a Kiss.”

But it was in movies and nighttime that Rebhorn not only shined, but appeared constantly. He’d been a regular recently on HBO’s “Enlightened,” “Homeland” and “White Collar.” He was the D.A. who prosecuted the “Seinfeld” gang on their finale. Rebhorn’s movie roles were memorable, including “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (he was Jude Law’s father trying to find his son). He appeared in “Scent of a Woman,” “Real Steel,” and “Cold Mountain,” always playing pivotal character roles.

At six foot five, with what they used to call a noble bearing, Rebhorn managed to play both honorable and sleazy at the same time. He was soft spoken and never did publicity. He was what I think of as the kind of actor who should be honored by SAG at their ceremony every year– not a star, but the guy who makes the entire play, movie, or show plausible.

I met him once, we talked about how he played, for a few years in the 1980s, Bradley Raines, the worst bad guy ever on “Guiding Light.” He seemed shocked that I recognized him. What a loss! Condolences to his family.

Author
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
3 replies to this post
  1. Saw him at a little ice cream shop in Birmingham, MI. just a couple of years ago. Tall thin very pleasant looking. Alone. Probably in town filming something back when the tax breaks were so appealing to film makers. No more.

  2. Long time fan. He gave a tour de force and brave performance as Bradley Raines on The Guiding Light. Should have won an Emmy for it. Very saddened to learn of his passing.

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