'Homeland' Actor James Rebhorn Wrote His Own Obituary

4:22 PM PST 03/24/2014 by Debbie Emery
Associated Press

Before he died Friday at 65, the veteran actor was inspired by his final play to write his own farewell, titled "His Life, According to Jim."

As Hollywood mourns James Rebhorn, who played the father of Claire Danes' character (troubled CIA officer Carrie Mathison) on the Showtime drama Homeland, the veteran character actor said farewell in his own words by writing his obituary himself.

Rebhorn, who died from melanoma Friday, was inspired by his final theater performance, his agent, Dianne Busch, confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.

The last play that the actor was in at the Roundabout Theatre in New York City included a character who didn't care for the obituaries that usually appeared in newspapers, so she wrote her own, Busch told THR. It inspired Rebhorn to work on his own obituary.

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During his five-decade career, the Philadelphia native was memorable as the district attorney that sent Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer to jail on the Seinfeld finale in 1998 and as the prosecution's FBI expert automotive witness in the hilarious film My Cousin Vinny (1992). He also had stints as an attorney on the David E. Kelley shows The Practice and Boston Legal and recurring roles on Third Watch, The Book of Daniel, Law & Order and Big Lake. More recently he appeared in the USA Network hit White Collar as Special Agent Reese Hughes.

Having been diagnosed with melanoma in 1992, Rebhorn focused on his family rather than his impressive body of work in "His Life, According to Jim," which was posted on the website for the St. Paul Lutheran Church in Hoboken, N.J., where he was a longtime member. 

Read his obituary below:

STORY: 'Homeland' Actor James Rebhorn Dead at 65

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.

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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.

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