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Nebraska, U.S.
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Nebraska, U.S.

One of the “Tough Guys” of American cinema, Academy Award winner James Coburn is best remembered for his portrayal of Glen Whitehouse, the controlling father of a young police officer in the drama movie “Affliction.” Coburn, a lanky actor with tough appearance and a gravelly voice, is credited with popularizing the “Macho guy” stereotype in American cinema. This rugged guy wasn’t a cutesy chocolate-boy hero who charmed the ladies! He was a fast-paced action hero who lit up the screen with his action scenes, but it wasn’t his only strength. He was a really gifted actor who transitioned from a carefree young man to an experienced character actor with ease. He came to love movies while serving in the army, and after being discharged, he went on to acting school. Prior to working in television, he started out as an actor in the theater. His Hollywood debut was made possible by a successful television career, and he quickly established himself as a tall, good-looking action hero. Despite continuing to work in films into his later years, the actor’s career peaked in the 1960s and 1970s with roles in films like “Duck, You Sucker!” and “Cross of Iron.”

Early Childhood & Life

James Coburn, Jr. and Mylet Johnson welcomed him into the world on August 31, 1928, in Nebraska. The family lived in poverty after his father, who had run a garage business, lost everything during the Great Depression.
He attended Compton Junior College before enlisting in the American Army. While stationed in Germany, he was asked to narrate Army training videos in addition to his duties as a truck driver. After serving in the army, he decided to study acting because this sparked his passion for movies.

He signed up to study theatre at Los Angeles City College. He participated in several school plays and gave outstanding performances in each one. At the La Jolla Playhouse, he made his theatrical debut in Billy Budd by Herman Melville.

He traveled to New York to attend the Stella Adler Conservatory before moving back to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.

The career of James Coburn

He had little trouble finding an acting job thanks to his attractive masculinity and lean build. He started out acting in a lot of theater productions before landing parts on television.

In 1959, he made his acting debut in the Western movie “Ride Lonesome,” which also starred Lee Van Cleef, Karen Steele, and Randolph Scott. James was given much-needed exposure to Hollywood because of this movie.
As a result of his appearance in the film, he began to receive numerous offers for television roles. He appeared in a number of TV shows in 1959, including “State Trooper,” “The Californians,” and “The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp,” in minor or supporting parts.

In the 1963 movie “The Great Escape,” which was based on the true story of British and Commonwealth prisoners of war escaping from a German camp during World War II, he portrayed the part of Louis Sedgwick. The movie was a great hit.

He starred in the 1965 Western movie “Major Dundee” starring Charlton Heston and Richard Harris, playing a one-armed Indian tracker. He was well-liked in this position.

In the 1966 action movie “Our Man Flint,” which was a parody of James Bond movies, he played the spy Derek Flint. This was his first significant part, which made him a well-known movie star.

In 1971, he made his film debut in Italy with a part in “Duck, You Sucker!” Coburn portrayed John H. Mallory, a revolutionary on the run from the British after killing British forces who joined yet another uprising in Mexico.

He portrayed Capt. Vinton Maddox in the war movie “Battle of Midway” from 1976. Once more, his personality was a perfect fit for the Army Captain role that he played in the movie. Henry Fonda, Robert Wagner, and Toshiro Mifune are just a few of the renowned celebrities who appeared in the movie.

His career peaked in the 1970s, and he continued to be busy in television in addition to the cinema. Unfortunately, the action star’s career faltered in the 1980s when he developed rheumatoid arthritis.

He was able to regulate his medical condition after receiving therapy, which allowed him to resume an active career in the 1990s. In 1991, he starred alongside Bruce Willis, David Caruso, and Richard Grant in the action comedy “Hudson Hawk.”

He had a terrific year in 1997 since it saw the occurrence of one of his most enduring performances. In the drama movie “Affliction,” he played Glen Whitehouse, the violent and drunken father of a police officer. He received a lot of applause and praise for this performance.

Despite getting older, he kept acting and showed up in the films “American Gun” in 2002 and “The Man from Elysian Fields” in 2001.

Bigger Works of James Coburn

His most well-known performance was in the film “Affliction,” in which he portrayed the protagonist’s abusive father. He fit the stereotype of a haughty and stern man thanks to his severe appearance and narrow steely eyes.

Recognition & Achievements

In the 1997 American drama “Affliction,” he played Glen Whitehouse, for which he received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. For this particular performance, he was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role.

Personal Legacy & Life

In 1959, he wed Beverly Kelly. The pair filed for divorce in 1979 after a twenty-year marriage.

In 1993, he married Paula Murad for the second time. Up to Coburn’s passing, the pair remained together. One son and one stepdaughter were born to him.

At the age of 74, he passed away from a heart attack in 2002.

James Coburn’s Net Worth

James Coburn, an American actor, had a $10 million fortune. James Coburn died in November 2002. He was born in Laurel, Nebraska, in August 1928. Beginning in 1957, Coburn earned over 170 acting credits. In addition to American Gun, he also appeared in the films Ride Longsome, Face of a Fugitive, The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, Charade, Major Dundee, In Like Flint, The President’s Analyst, Duffy, Candy, A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die, The Muppet Movie, Young Guns II, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Maverick, The Nutty Professor, Affliction, Snow Dogs, and American Gun.