By: The Reel James –
I have a confession to make. When I went on Twitter this morning and saw the news that James Rebhorn had passed away, my first thought was, “Who?” Like many character actors, Rebhorn appeared in dozens of films and TV shows, but was simply known by many as “Oh, THAT guy!”
So, after a quick “James Rebhorn” Google search, I saw his picture and my heart immediately sank. He’s one of my favorite character actors, and was one of those guys that elevated each film he was in. He’s best known for movies like Independence Day, The Game, Scent of a Woman, and The Talented Mr. Ripley. He was the District Attorney in the series finale of Seinfeld, and the guy who kept yelling, “Jesus, Focker!” in Meet the Parents.
Rebhorn played the same kind of character in a lot of movies; the tall, lanky man in a suit with the ever-receding hairline. He was also a theater actor, and tried to do one play every year because he enjoyed immediate audience feedback. He admitted that it was sometimes difficult to escape the roles most people identified him with – lawyers and politicians – and even joked that it was nice to do a movie like Candles On Bay Street, where he played a farmer. “It was a small role,” he said, “But it was a pleasure to be a character who doesn’t wear a suit.”
We pay so much attention to A-listers and movie stars that we forget about the hard working, good natured, and incredibly talented men and women like James Rebhorn. All too often, the men in suits fade into the background. So, Mr. Rebhorn, I’m sorry that I always called you “That Guy,” but man, was I always happy to see you.