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Actor James Rebhorn dies following lengthy battle with melanoma

Actor James Rebhorn, who most recently played the father of Clare Danes' character on "Homeland," has died at age 65.
Actor James Rebhorn, who most recently played the father of Clare Danes' character on "Homeland," has died at age 65. Getty Images

Farewell, James Rebhorn. On Sunday, the L.A. Times reported that the character actor, who was seen most recently on "Homeland," died Friday at his home in South Orange, N.J.

He was 65.

Rebhornd's death followed a lengthy battle with skin cancer. He was diagnosed with melanoma in 1992.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. In 2010 (the last year for which statistics are available):

  • 61,061 people in the United States were diagnosed with melanomas of the skin, including 35,248 men and 25,813 women.
  • During that same year, more than 9,000 people in the United States died from melanomas of the skin, including 6,002 men and 3,152 women.

Rebhorn had more than 100 TV and movie credits, including roles in "Scent of a Woman" and "My Cousin Vinny" — both released in 1992 — and "Meet the Parents" (2000). In the 1998 finale of "Seinfeld," he played a district attorney who prosecuted the show's four main characters for idly standing by as a fat man was robbed at gunpoint.

While Rebhorn succeeded in putting away Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer — a result the actor later described as "very satisfying" — his characters often were undone by their own treachery.

Born Sept. 1, 1948, in Philadelphia, James Robert Rebhorn grew up in Anderson, Ind. Although he acted in high school, he planned to be a Lutheran minister and headed to church-affiliated Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio.

"It was after I got there that I began to explore and experiment and search out other things in life," Rebhorn once said in an interview.

Graduating with a degree in political science and theater, he went on to study acting at Columbia University, where he received a master's in fine arts in 1972.

Early in his career, Rebhorn had recurring roles on "The Guiding Light," "Search for Tomorrow," and "As the World Turns."

Rebhorn also acted in many stage productions, appearing as a disappointed father in Arthur Miller's "The Man Who Had All the Luck"; one of the jurors in a 2004 production of "Twelve Angry Men"; and recently, as an Alzheimer's patient in "Too Much, Too Much, Too Many."

Rebhorn delivered "a beautiful portrait of a man struggling to come to terms with his faltering mind," New York Times critic Charles Isherwood wrote in November 2013.

Leading a quiet life in suburban New Jersey, Rebhorn was distinctly un-Hollywood.

"Whenever I go out of town, the first thing I do is reach for a Yellow Pages so I can find where the Lutheran church is," he once told an interviewer. "And a laundromat."

In addition to his wife, Rebhorn is survived by daughters Emma Rebhorn Feldman and Hannah Rebhorn.