Actor James Rebhorn Writes His Own Final Tribute

James Rebhorn
James Rebhorn

The late, prolific character actor, James Rebhorn, who died at the age of 65 on Friday from melanoma, was a busy man. With more than 100 acting credits in TV, film, and onstage, it turns out, he still wasn't too busy to oversee his own final remembrance.

Rebhorn wrote his own, heartfelt obituary, which was published on Monday on the St. Paul Lutheran Church website. The church, located in Jersey City, N.J., will hold his funeral services later this week.

His Life, According to Jim

James Robert Rebhorn was born on Sept. 1, 1948, in Philadelphia, PA. His mother, Ardell Frances Rebhorn, nee Hoch, loved him very much and supported all his dreams. She taught him the value of good manners and courtesy, and that hospitality is no small thing. His father, James Harry Rebhorn, was no less devoted to him. From him, Jim learned that there is no excuse for poor craftsmanship. A job well done rarely takes more or less time than a job poorly done. They gave him his faith and wisely encouraged him to stay in touch with God.

He is survived by his sister, Janice Barbara Galbraith, of Myrtle Beach, SC. She was his friend, his confidant, and, more often than either of them would like to admit, his bridge over troubled waters.

He is also survived by his wife, Rebecca Fulton Linn, and his two daughters, Emma Rebecca Rebhorn and Hannah Linn Rebhorn. They anchored his life and gave him the freedom to live it. Without them, always at the center of his being, his life would have been little more than a vapor. Rebecca loved him with all his flaws, and in her the concept of ceaseless love could find no better example.

His children made him immensely proud. Their dedication to improving our species and making the world a better place gave him hope for the future. They deal with grief differently, and they should each manage it as they see fit. He hopes, however, that they will grieve his passing only as long as necessary. They have much good work to do, and they should get busy doing it. Time is flying by. His son-in-law, Ben, also survives him. Jim loved Ben, who was as a son to Jim, especially through these last months.

His aunts Jean, Dorothy and Florence, numerous cousins and their families, and many devoted friends also survive Jim. He loved them all, and he knows they loved him.

Jim received his BA at Wittenberg University and his MFA at Columbia. He was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha Nu Zeta 624, a life-long Lutheran, and a longtime member of both the AMC and ACLU.

Jim was fortunate enough to earn his living doing what he loved. He was a professional actor. His unions were always there for him, and he will remain forever grateful for the benefits he gained as a result of the union struggle. Without his exceptional teachers and the representation of the best agents in the business, he wouldn’t have had much of a career. He was a lucky man in every way.

–Jim Rebhorn, March 2014

Friends and relatives have been invited to a private funeral service for Rebhorn at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Jersey City, N.J., on Friday at 11 a.m.

[Related: James Rebhorn, Star of 'Independence Day,' 'Scent of a Woman' Dies]

Some of those in attendance will likely include his thespian colleagues at Roundabout Theatre Company — who posted their own tribute to Rebhorn on Monday, which said, in part, "It is not difficult to see why The New York Times classifies James Rebhorn as a "New York theatre stalwart." His remarkably prolific career spans over thirty years across stage and screen."

Rebhorn's many stage credits include a 2004 Tony-nominated production of "Twelve Angry Men," a 2002 production of Arthur Miller’s "The Man Who Had All the Luck," a staging of "Too Much, Too Much, Too Many" in 2013, and many more. His plethora of film credits vary from "Independence Day" to "Scent of a Woman" to "Basic Instinct." And on television he appeared in shows ranging from "Law & Order" to "White Collar."