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American character actor James Rebhorn dead at 65

James Rebhorn passed away from cancer Friday, he was 65 years old. Best known for his role as a character actor in such films as "Independence Day", "Meet the Parents", "Basic Instinct" and "Scent of a Women". He also appeared as a regular on the television series "Third Watch", "Law & Order", "White Collar" and "Homeland". Rebhorn specialized in portraying cowardly villains, bureaucrats and underhanded characters.

Career of James Rebhorn.
Photo by Bryan Bedder
James Rebhorn
Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Born on September 1, 1948 in Philadelphia, PA but grew up in Indiana. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University and got into acting whilst performing at a Dinner Theater. After being noticed for his performance, Rebhorn started his career acting on the small screen in bit parts before appearing in character actor roles in films. One of his most notable earlier screen roles is that of a drunk businessman in the film "Cat's Eye".

Rebhorn made a name for himself as an character actor in Hollywood. He's the guy who always looked familiar and was seen in quite a few movies but never really knew him by name. Actors like him are the grunts of the industry. They made a living playing in the background, chew scenary or often supporting the lead actors. James Rebhorn's interesting characterizations of what would ordinarily be vanilla roles made him stand out amongst the crowd and he will be missed.

He is survived by his wife Rebecca Linn and their daughters Emma and Hannah.

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