"Actors are boring when they are not working. It's a natural condition, because they don't have anything to do. They just lay around, and that's why so many of them get drunk. They really get to be boring people. My wife will attest to that." James Coburn
Deceased actor James Coburn is remembered for his long list of movie roles including playing characters in such movie greats as Affliction (1999, won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor), The Magnificent Seven (1960), The Great Escape (1963), Our Man Flint (1966) and its sequel, In Like Flint (1967).
Coburn was an actor from the 1950s to the early 2000s, whose later films including Payback (1999, with Mel Gibson), American Gun (2002), and he provided his voice for Henry J. Waternoose III in the popular animated movie Monsters, Inc. (2001).
Coburn was also remembered for his friendship with martial arts legend Bruce Lee (1940-1973). Coburn, along with acting legend Steve McQueen (1930-1980), honored Lee by being one of the pallbearers at his funeral.
Childhood and Family:
American actor James Coburn is a Laurel, Nebraska native, born on August 31, 1928. He is the son of businessman father James Coburn Sr. As an adolescent, James became interested in acting and later studied at the Los Angeles City College, California. He also studied drama at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California.
James married twice during his lifetime. On November 11, 1959, he married Beverly Kelly but the marriage ended in divorced in 1979. From October 22, 1993 until his death in 2002, James was happily married to wife Paula O'Hara Murad (born in 1955). James has two children, daughter Lisa Coburn (web site designer; born in 1957) and son James Harrison Coburn IV (sound mixer; born on May 22, 1961).
During the 80s, James suffered from rheumatoid arthritis but benefited after he received holistic treatment. James Coburn suffered a suddenly heart attack and died in Beverly Hills on November 18, 2002.
Working on his acting talent at UCLA, James Coburn first appeared on stage in a production of Billy Budd, starring Vincent Price, at the La Jolla Playhouse in Los Angeles. Coburn gained noteworthy praise for his performance and pursued his acting career in New York, where he took acting classes at the high-status Stella Adler Theatre School. Meanwhile, Coburn initiated his acting work on TV by appearing in several advertisements and televised shows, including being seen in the hit western series Bonanza and becoming a regular on the sitcom Bronco.
Budd Boetticher's Ride Lonesome (1959, starring Randolph Scott) was Coburn's silver screen debut, followed with the same year film, Paul Wendkos's Face of a Fugitive. In the next years, he was seen in the TV action series Klondike (1960) and spent eight weeks on Acapulco (1961).
His name continued receiving attention as he played supporting roles in John Sturges's acclaimed films Magnificent Seven (1960) and The Great Escape (1963, as Australian Sedgewick). He also played characters in Hell Is For Heroes (1962), Charade (1963, alongside Cary Grant), the comedy The Americanization of Emily (1964) and joined director Sam Peckinpah in his 1965 western, Major Dundee.
Coburn arrived in the limelight when he starred as Derek Flint in the blockbuster James Bond parody, Our Man Flint (1966). After playing the lead role of Eli Kotch in the thriller Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round (1966), he nabbed the lead role again in the Our Man Flint sequel, In Like Flint (1967).
After films like Candy (1968), Duffy (1969), and Last of the Mobile Hot-Shots (1970), Coburn played more notable roles in The Honkers (1971), Sergio Leone's Duck, You Sucker (1972), and The Last of Sheila (1973). He also added to his acting resume such films as Bite the Bullet (1975), Hard Times (1975, opposite Charles Bronson) as well as starring in two other Sam Peckinpah's films, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973), and Cross of Iron (1977).
Behind the screen, Coburn owned a production company that produced Theodore J. Flicker's thriller-comedy The President's Analyst (1967, in which he also starred). He also directed the crime-drama TV series The Rockford Files (1974-1980). In 1978, Coburn became the second unit director for Sam Peckinpah's Convoy and co-wrote (with best friend Bruce Lee) the story for Richard Moore's Circle of Iron (starring David Carradine).
Due to rheumatoid arthritis, Coburn was not frequently seen on the screen during the 80s and spent his time at theaters, on TV, and in documentaries. However, he still managed to act in the films The Baltimore Bullet (1980), High Risk (1981), and Looker (1981). He was also seen in Martin's Day (1984), Death of a Soldier (1986), and Walking After Midnight (1988).
After improving his arthritic condition with a holistic healer and methods, Coburn returned to the big screen playing roles in Young Guns II (1990), Hudson Hawk (1991), and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993). He also appeared in Deadfall (1993), Maverick (1994), and The Nutty Professor (1996).
Coburn finally gained strong recognition for his motion picture work, when in 1998, he took home an Academy Award for playing the supporting role of rude alcoholic father Glen Whitehouse in Paul Schrader's Affliction, starring Nick Nolte and Willem Dafoe.
Before his death in 2002, Coburn could be seen in films like Man from Elysian Fields (2001), Monsters, Inc (2001, voice of Henry J. Waternoose III), Snow Dogs (2002), and American Gun (2002).