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Character Actor James Rebhorn Saves His Best for Last

JamesRebhornPicOne of the most similarly elegant summaries of the self-obituary written by James Rebhorn shortly before the character actor passed away last Friday comes from Globe and Mail TV writer Andrew Ryan. The Canadian reporter notes:

Rebhorn’s most endearing thoughts go toward his wife, Rebecca, and their two daughters, Emma and Hannah… Rebhorn also takes the time to suggest his daughters keep their mourning to a minimum.

Gawker’s Dayna Evans and others have described the obituary as “heartbreaking,” but we humbly beg to differ. Rebhorn’s life was full of love and balanced, professional success. Through this obituary, the actor presents himself as someone grateful for having been so blessed. As such, to us, it’s more uplifting than heartbreaking.

Meanwhile, because the website Deadline is read by many who knew or worked with Rebhorn, a 1972 Columbia University MFA grad and co-star of everything form Scent of a Woman to Homeland, some of the best comments can be found there. Including this one from Mark Georgeff who, fittingly in light of Rebhorn’s words, addresses his peer as if the actor is still alive:

Mr. Rebhorn:

I was in the first week of my 2nd year of the MFA screenwriting program at UCLA, when you gave me a few moments of your time to talk with me about how to “feel more as a writer, in order to write better for actors.”

I remember it being my first week of my second year, and was having lunch and coffee at a table at one of the UCLA food courts… and you just happened to be at a nearby table, enjoying your own meal.

I recognized you from so much of your acting work, and assumed you were there at UCLA giving a seminar; maybe meeting film school faculty, etc.

After I asked you a few questions about the whole “acting” process, you could’ve of left; shined me on; etc., but you didn’t. You gave me some moments of your time; and your experience as an actor which basically became a 20-minute class helping me really understand what actors really want from writers.

I thanked you so much for your time then; I thank you even more now.

My thoughts and prayers for your family and loved ones.

Thank you again.

[Photo courtesy: St. Paul Lutheran Church]

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