Prolific Character Actor James Rebhorn Dies At 65


James Rebhorn, one of the most prolific and recognizable American actors of the stage and screen, died on Friday at his New Jersey home. He was 65.

A familiar face for all film fans, Rebhorn spent many years honing his craft in the theatre before appearing in many of the biggest films and television series of the last 20 years. Although the actor was diagnosed with melanoma in 1992, he continued working heavily until last month, racking up 125 credits during 30 years in the business.

With a tall, gangly figure, Rebhorn often played characters with sleaze, power or a mix of both. He often portrayed politicians, police chiefs, strict fathers and lawyers, and never gave a dull performance. Among his most notable film roles are as Herbert Greenleaf in The Talented Mr. Ripley, secretary of defence Albert Nimziki in Independence Day and the mysterious Jim Feingold in The Game. Other film credits include parts in Meet the Parents, Scent of a Woman, Far From Heaven, Carlito’s Way, If Lucy Fell, My Cousin Vinny and Basic Instinct.

Two of his final roles were on critically acclaimed cable series and may go on to be some of his most enduring work. Rebhorn played the father of Claire Danes’ unstable CIA agent Carrie Matheson on eight episodes of the Emmy-winning Homeland, as well as Laura Dern’s corrupt boss Charles Szidon on the terrific but short-lived HBO series Enlightened. He is also well-known for playing the district attorney in Seinfeld‘s two-part series finale, one of the most-watched episodes in television history.

The Philadelphia-born actor graduated from Columbia University with a Master of Fine Arts in 1972. He soon became a noted presence in the New York theatre scene, often working with the Manhattan Theatre Club and New York’s Ensemble Studio Theatre. Rebhorn received critical and audience love for his role as Juror #4 in a 2004 Broadway production of 12 Angry Men and had reprised that role onstage as recently as 2012.

Rebhorn was such a distinctive and reliable character actor, that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made him a member in 2007. His final film role was as a priest in the 2013 drama Before I Sleep.

James Rebhorn is survived by his wife, Rebecca Linn, and their two daughters, Emma and Hannah.