You may not have known James Rebhorn by name, but you certainly knew his face—because he was in everything.
The ubiquitous character actor lost a 20-plus-year battle with melanoma on Friday, a battle no one beyond his immediate family seemed to know anything about because he worked constantly since his diagnosis in 1992, right around the time he played the elitist headmaster at Chris O'Donnell's private school in Scent of a Woman.
The long fight allowed him time to rack up dozens of acting credits, the most recent of which were guest arcs on White Collar and Enlightenment and the role of Claire Danes' dad on Homeland. But the career thesp must have sensed the end was near, because he took it upon himself to pen his own obituary, posted after his death at the age of 65 by St. Paul Lutheran Church in Jersey City, N.J.
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Titled "His Life, According to Jim," the personal essay succinctly chronicles a life that the actor was most grateful for and pays tribute to the parents, sister, wife, children, friends and extended family who made it so.
Mother Ardell "loved him very much and supported all his dreams," while father James "was no less devoted to him. From [his father], 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."
Wife Rebecca "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," Rebhorn wrote. "Rebecca loved him with all his flaws, and in her the concept of ceaseless love could find no better example."
Daughters Emma and Hannah "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."
"Jim was fortunate enough to earn his living doing what he loved. He was a professional actor," Reborn, whose final film role was playing a priest in the indie drama Before I Sleep, concluded.
"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."
We have a feeling that no one who knew him will stop grieving his passing anytime soon, but our thoughts go out to his loved ones. Of which, according to the man himself, there were so many.