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James Coburn, Award Winner – MovieActors.com

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Coburn in ERASER.

James Coburn: Best Supporting Actor 1998: MovieActors.com

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AFFLICTION (Drama – R)

James Coburn won his Supporting Oscar playing an abusive father patriarch, Glen Whitehouse, a real charmer who inflicts emotional pain to all who live with him, especially his two sons, who use alcohol to dull the life-long pain they have suffered.









About James Coburn (1928 – 2002)

James Coburn was born on August 31, 1928, in Laurel, Nebraska, to a midwestern couple, James Coburn Jr., and Mylet Johnson. James Coburn Jr., owned a garage business, which he lost during the hard times of the Great Depression. James developed an early love for cars from his father.

The family moved to Compton, California, where James grew up. He attended Compton Junior College for awhile, before enlisting in the United States Army, in 1950. At a state-side Texas base, James drove a truck and was a disc jocky on the Army radio station. The army discovered that James had a great voice for doing voice-over work, and he was sent to Germany to do some narration for Army training films.

The "lean and lanky" Coburn made a great living playing the "bad guy" or "the difficult person" in a plotline. Coburn's narrow eyes, and his wide mouth full of teeth were two of his physical characteristics that he used as part of his performances in roles of the mean, unscrupulous characters or tough guys that he was cast for in many films.

After this stint in the Army, James studied acting in California at Los Angeles City College, and experienced his first stage performance in the stage production of BILLY BUDD, at the La Jolla Playhouse. James went to U.C.L.A. and studied acting there as well. He then headed to New York, and studied acting under Stella Adler while working on the stage and on live television.

James Coburn's first movie role was that of an outlaw, Whit, in the 1959 film, RIDE LONESOME. The role that really started his career was his portrayal as the knife-throwing Britt, in the 1960 film, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. Though James only had eleven lines, his physical acting filled the screen with his presence, that wowed the audience.

His first film that James got the lead in was DEAD HEAT ON A MERRY-GO-ROUND;(1966).

A mega hit for Coburn was the comedic spy spoof, OUR MAN FLINT;(1966) and its sequel, IN LIKE FLINT;(1967). Coburn proved to all that he could act in a comedy as well as a drama, having fun at the same time.

James Coburn went on to give the film-loving audience many memorable roles in such movies as THE LAST OF SHEILA;(1973), THE PRESIDENT'S ANALYST;(1967), PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID;(1973), and CROSS OF IRON;(1977).

Rheumatoid arthritis weakened him during the 1980's, but James found a way to fight it through diet, physical therapy, and exercise. Coburn came back in good form in 1990, with YOUNG GUNS 2. Throughout the 1990's, James was busy making such films as MAVERICK;(1994) and HUDSON HAWK;(1991).

The crowning jewel of his career was receiving his Best Supporting Actor Oscar award for his outstanding performance as the cantankerous, bitter, abusive, alcoholic father, Glen Whitehouse, in the 1997 film, AFFLICTION.

During in his lifetime of acting, James Coburn had 174 acting credits to show for it; as he loved the act, and always found work on TV and films. Casting directors loved to hire him, because he was so talented in portraying tough men, bad guys, was easy to wrok with, and was very funny as well in comedic parts.

In a 1999 interview with the Associated Press, James explained why he has worked a lot with such focus on his craft. "I've been reading a lot of stuff. I want to go to work. It's what I do best; it's the only thing I can really do... Actors are boring when they're 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," he said with a hearty laugh.

James was married twice. In 1959, James married Beverly Kelly, and they had a son, James H. Coburn IV, on May 22nd, 1961. They stayed married for twenty years, divorcing in 1979, after their son turned eighteen.

In 1993, James found love again, and married actress Paula Murad, a much younger woman, born in 1955. They co-starred together in James' last film, AMERICAN GUN. James was step- father to Paula's daughter, Lisa.

They had nine years together before James died on November 18th, 2002, in Beverly Hills, California. James was listening to music with Paula and playing his flute when he had a fatal heart attack. James was survived by his son, James, his step-daughter, Lisa, and briefly by his wife, Paula. Paula died in 2004 from cancer.

James Coburn's notable movie credits include...

RIDE LONESOME (1959)
FACE OF A FUGITIVE (1959)
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960)
HELL IS FOR HEROES (1962)
THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963)
THE MAN FROM GALVESTON (1963)
CHARADE (1963)
THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY (1964)
MAJOR DUNDEE (1965)
HIGH WIND IN JAMAICA (1965)
OUR MAN FLINT (1966)
THE LOVED ONE (1965)
WHAT DID YOU DO IN THE WAR, DADDY? (1966)
DEAD HEAT ON A MERRY-GO-ROUND (1966)
IN LIKE FLINT (1967)
WATERHOLE #3 (1967)
THE PRESIDENT'S ANALYST (1967)
DUFFY (1968)
CANDY (1968)
HARD CONTACT (1969)
LAST OF THE MOBILE HOT SHOTS (1970)
DUCK, YOU SUCKER (1971)
THE HONKERS (1972)
THE CAREY TREATMENT (1972)
THE LAST OF SHELIA (1973)
PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID (1973)
HARRY IN YOUR POCKET (1973)
THE INTERNECINE PROJECT (1974)
HARD TIMES (1975)
BITE THE BULLET (1975)
SKY RIDERS (1976)
THE LAST HARD MEN (1976)
MIDWAY (1976)
CROSS OF IRON (1977)
GOLDENGIRL (1979)
FIRE POWER (1979)
THE MUPPET MOVIE (1979)
THE BALTIMORE BULLET (1980)
LOVING COUPLES (1980)
MR. PATMAN (1980)
LOOKER (1981)
HIGH RISK (1981)
MARTIN'S DAY (1985)
DEATH OF A SOLDIER (1986)
CALLS FROM SPACE (1989)
YOUNG GUNS II (1990)
HUDSON HAWK (1991)
THE HIT LIST (1993)
SISTER ACT II: BACK IN THE HABIT (1993)
DEADFALL (1993)
MAVERICK (1994)
THE SET UP (1995)
ERASER (1996)
THE NUTTY PROFESSOR (1996)
KEYS TO TULSA (1996)
SKELETONS (1997)
INTREPID (2000)
THE GOOD DOCTOR (2000)
AMERICAN GUN (2002)


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Coburn in NAKED CITY.

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James Coburn in THE LAST OF SHELIA (1973).

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James Coburn in DUCK, YOU SUCKER (1971).

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Coburn in MAVERICK (1994).

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James Coburn in ERASER (1996).

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James Coburn in
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
(1960).


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James Coburn in PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID (1973).

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James Coburn in HUDSON HAWK.

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James Coburn in OUR MAN FLINT (1966).