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James Rebhorn, ‘Homeland’ star, character actor, dies at 65

Sept. 1, 1948 – March 21, 2014

James Rebhorn, a character actor who appeared in dozens of popular movies and television shows and recently starred on the Showtime hit “Homeland,” died Friday at his home in South Orange, N.J. He was 65.

The cause was melanoma, his agent, Dianne Busch, said.

The lanky but piercing Rebhorn, raised a Lutheran in Indiana, often played astringent authorities, like the headmaster in “Scent of a Woman” and lawyers on “Boston Legal” and “The Practice.” Rebhorn had memorable roles in many films, including Dr. Larry Banks in “Meet the Parents” (2000), Secretary of Defense Albert Nimzicki in “Independence Day” (1996) and FBI expert witness George Wilbur in “My Cousin Vinny.”

On “Homeland,” he played Frank Mathison, the father of Carrie Mathison, the CIA officer played by Claire Danes.

Tall and slim with a ring of white hair around the back of his head, he worked constantly, switching back and forth among film, television and theater. In five decades of television and film work, Rebhorn amassed more than 100 credits, ranging from a shipping magnate in “The Talented Mr. Ripley” to the prosecutor in the series finale of “Seinfeld.”

Rebhorn was active in the Roundabout Theater Co. in New York and appeared on Broadway in “Twelve Angry Men” and “Our Town,” among other plays.

He also had recent recurring roles on cable television in USA’s “White Collar” (as FBI Special Agent Reese Hughes) and in HBO’s “Enlightened” as Charles Szidon, the CEO of Abaddon Industries.

The New York Times and Associated Press contributed to this report.