TIME tribute

Homeland Actor James Rebhorn Wrote His Own Obituary

James Rebhorn in 2012 in New York City.
Robin Marchant—Getty Images James Rebhorn in 2012 in New York City.

And it's a tear-jerker

Actor James Rebhorn — who had roles in Homeland, Meet The Parents, My Cousin Vinny and Independence Day — died on Friday at the age of 65, from melanoma. The veteran actor worked in show business for 50 years, with dozens of parts to his name, and he continued to take on roles long after his diagnosis in 1992. Before his death, Rebhorn was able to write his own obituary, a loving ode to his family detailing the adoration he felt for his parents, sister, wife and daughters. The obit, titled “His Life, According to Jim,” was posted by the St. Paul Lutheran Church in Jersey City on Monday.

You can read the full, tear-jerking tribute here:

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


TIME James Rebhorn

James Rebhorn: Remembering the Actor and His Many Roles

The prolific character actor passed away Friday at the age of 65. He appeared in a wide range of TV shows and films, including Homeland and Meet the Parents.

TIME remembrance

James Rebhorn, Veteran Character Actor, Dies at 65

The actor has appeared in such movies as Scent of a Woman, Meet The Parents and Independence Day, and had recently played the role of Carrie Mathison's father in the Showtime TV series Homeland


James Rebhorn, a prolific character actor on film and television, passed away in his home Friday at the age of 65, his agent told The Hollywood Reporter.

Rebhorn most recently played CIA officer Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes)’s father on Homeland. He also played the lawyer that put Jerry, George, Eliane and Kramer behind bars in the finale of Seinfeld in 1998 and the prosecution’s FBI expert in My Cousin Vinny in 1992.

His long resume includes roles in The Scent of a Woman, Independence Day, The Game, Meet the Parents, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Cold Mountain, 30 Rock, Enlightened, The Good Wife, Law & Order and Boston Legal.

Rebhorn also took on many theater roles and was a central figure in the Roundabout Theatre Company. He recently starred as a father with Alzheimer’s in Too Much, Too Much, Too Many. He appeared in the original stage product I’m Not Rappaport in 1985 and acted in many revivals including Our Town and 12 Angry Men.


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