If you don’t immediately recognize James Rebhorn by his name, you almost certainly recognize his face. The veteran character actor appeared in projects ranging from “Scent of a Woman” to “Meet the Parents” on the big-screen, and from “Seinfeld” to “Homeland” on the small-screen.
Sadly, Rebhorn’s days delivering memorable on-screen performances have come to an end. The actor passed away on Friday (March 21) at the age of 65 from melanoma; he was first diagnosed with the disease in 1992.
“He was a wonderful, wonderful man. I represented him since 1990, and I represented him for my entire career,” Rebhorn’s representative Dianne Busch told Deadline. “He was an absolute joy to work with. He was very funny and was warm. He was drawn to projects with a social conscience. One of his favorite movies that he did was ‘Lorenzo’s Oil’ because it made a difference. He had a very strong faith and loved his family. His family was extremely important to him and I saw him make career sacrifices for them.”
Rebhorn played a wide range of characters over the years, often portraying rule-abiding doctors and attorneys and government officials. He famously withheld Area 51 information from Bill Pullman’s president in “Independence Day,” leading to Pullman’s equally memorable line: “Mr. Nimzicki, you’re fired!” Rebhorn played a family friend of Robert De Niro’s in “Meet the Parents,” doctor Larry Banks, the proud owner of zingers like “The animal doesn’t even have thumbs, Focker!”
Most recently, Rebhorn held a vital role on Showtime’s “Homeland” as Frank Mathison, father of Claire Danes’ Carrie. Like Carrie, Frank suffered from bipolar disorder, and served as a mentor through his own daughter’s suffering. It remains unclear how “Homeland” will handle Rebhorn’s passing.
Leave your memories of Rebhorn and condolences for his family in the comments below.