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The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: James Rebhorn

2 Nov

(The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame is where we turn the spotlight on a television actor or actress, and it is named after their patron saint, Zeljko Ivanek)

Known for playing WASP-y characters and authority figures, James Rebhorn is a character actor legend.  He’s spent thirty years acting in over 100 films and television shows, remarkably getting more busy as he’s gotten older.  Many words could be spilled on his fine film work, but we’ll concentration here on his television roles.

Rebhorn’s first role came in an episode of television show The Doctors in 1977.  He didn’t work for a couple of years, with his next role coming in an episode of Texasin 1981 and then in TV movies Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Libby (seriously a movie?) and Sessions.  He appeared in an episode of Guiding Light, as “Man on Phone” in TV movie “He’s Fired, She’s Hired” (I swear TV movies have the best names) and in ABC Weekend Special episode, “The Adventures of Con Sawyer and Hucklemary Finn.”  When TV mini-series ruled the world in the mid-80s, he appeared in small roles in Jeffrey Archer adaptation Kane and Abel and North and South.  He appeared in an episode of soap Search for Tomorrow and two episodes of Kate & Allie, Spenser: For Hire and The Equalizer.  He also appeared in TV movies Rockabye, A Deadly Business, and Kojak: The Price of Justice.  He finished the 1980s with roles in the Our Town episode of Great Performances, a role in ABC Afterschool Special “A Town’s Revenge” and in Kojak: Ariana (as a different character than in the previous Kojak).

He started the next decade with constant TV movie work as well with roles in kids classic Sarah, Plain and Tall, Plymouth, Dead or Alive: The Race for Gus Farace (Tony Danza played mobster Farace) and Kojak: Fatal Flaw (same role as in Kojak: Ariana).  He was in three episodes of Wiseguy, one Against the Law, and one I’ll Fly Away and yet more TV movies including Deadly Matrimony, J.F.K.: Reckless Youth, and Mistrial.  He was in episodes of The Adventures of Pete & Pete and The Wright Verdicts and TV miniseries The Buccaneers.  In the late 1990s, he worked in an episode of New York Undercover and in TV movie A Bright Shining Lie and in an episode of astronaut miniseries From the Earth to the Moon.  He also had the notable role of playing the district attorney in the final episode of Seinfeld who prosecutes the four main characters for violating their duty to rescue by watching a fat man get carjacked.  Rebhorn calls as witnesses to the stand various characters who Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer offended over the course of the show.

As the ‘00s began, Rebhorn appeared in two episodes of Now & Again, two episodes of The Practice, in one episode of UC: Undercover and in TV movie Amy & Isabelle.  He was in six episodes of Third Watch, two of David Morse led Hack and in TV miniseries Reversible Errors based on a Scott Turow novel and also starring William H. Macy and Tom Selleck.  He was a main cast member in 2006’s controversial The Book of Daniel, in which Daniel, played by Aidan Quinn is a Reverend who is addicted to painkillers and sees hallucinations of Jesus.  Rebhorn plays Daniel’s father.  He appeared in Hallmark Hall of Fame movie Candles on Bay Street starring Alicia Silverstone, in an episode of the short-lived The Knights of Prosperity, and in Larry McMurtry novel adaptation miniseries Comanche Moon on CBS.  He was a recurring character in Law & Order most notable for playing defense attorney Charles Garnett in five episodes.  He also played a serial killer in second season episode “Vengeance” and a doctor who participated in a botched lethal injection in season 18 episode “Executioner.”

He was in one Canterbury’s Law, two Boston Legals, and one Royal Pains.  He portrayed Dr. Kaplan in two episodes of 30 Rock, a dentist at whose office Tiny Fey meets British Wesley played by Michael Sheen.  Rebhorn co-starred in one-season Comedy Central series Big Lake with Horatio Sanz and Chris Parnell.  He currently has a recurring role in USA’s White Collar as Reese Hughes, Peter and Neal’s boss in the FBI’s White Collar division.  He also appeared in the most recent episode of Homeland as Claire Daines character Carrie Mathison’s father.