Homeland Actor James Rebhorn Wrote His Own Touching and Heartfelt Obituary

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 • by Gene Newman

You probably didn't know James Rebhorn by name. But you definitely knew his face. He was an acting workhorse, with over 125 film and television credits. He could play the perfect bureaucratic killjoy and then pivot and become the most caring father or trusted advisor. Though you'd never know it by his tireless work ethic, he had been suffering from skin cancer since 1992. He died on March 21 at his home in New Jersey and wrote his own touching and thoughtful obituary.

In it he thanks his parents for supporting his dreams and giving him the wise advice that "a job well done rarely takes more or less time than a job poorly done." His sister for being his confidant and "bridge over troubled waters." His wife for which "the concept of ceaseless love could find no better example." The advice he gives to his daughters is priceless:

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.

Some of his memorable roles:


As Claire Danes' bipolar father Frank Mathison on Showtime's Homeland.


The smarmy dean in Scent of a Woman who awakens Al Pacino's wrath.


The scheming politician in Independence Day, who kept Area 51 a secret from the president.


He was responsible for putting the Seinfeld crew behind bars in the finale.

Helpful Tip: Writing your own obituary is one of the greatest ways to let your family and friends know how important they were in your life.

Via St. Paul Lutheran Church, New Jersey