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James Rebhorn, in his own words

By Breeanna Hare, CNN
updated 1:00 PM EDT, Tue March 25, 2014
<a href='http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/23/showbiz/james-rebhorn-dead/index.html?hpt=en_c2' target='_blank'>The death of actor James Rebhorn</a> reminds us of other recognizable men and women who appear in countless films, TV shows and commercials but whose names you probably don't know. People like ... The death of actor James Rebhorn reminds us of other recognizable men and women who appear in countless films, TV shows and commercials but whose names you probably don't know. People like ...
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Actor James Rebhorn died at 65 on Friday
  • His church has shared a letter signed by him
  • The obituary notes his love for his faith and family
  • He earned a living "doing what he loved," a "lucky man in every way"

(CNN) -- Before he died Friday, it seems, James Rebhorn wrote his own obituary.

St. Paul's Lutheran Church of Jersey City, New Jersey, has shared a letter titled "His Life, According to Jim" that's signed by the actor and dated March 2014.

According to the church, Rebhorn, 65, was a longtime member who "will be remembered not so much for his many screen and stage accomplishments as for his firm faith, his strong leadership, his care for others, and his unfailing good humor."

Actor James Rebhorn dead at 65

And in the obituary, Rebhorn's faith and love for his family are particularly evident.

It includes recognition of the influence of his parents, who "gave him his faith and wisely encouraged him to stay in touch with God," and his sister, who was "his confidant (and) ... bridge over troubled waters." He also mentions how his wife, Rebecca, and their two daughters "anchored his life and gave him the freedom to live it."

"Without them always at the center of his being," the obituary continues, "(Rebhorn's) life would have been little more than a vapor. Rebecca loved him with all his flaws, and in her the concept of ceaseless love could find no better example."

Rebhorn was born in September 1948 in Philadelphia. After graduating from Ohio's Wittenberg University and earning a Master of Fine Arts from Columbia, he soon found his way to both the stage and the screen.

If his name isn't familiar, his face probably is: Rebhorn played the headmaster in 1992's "Scent of a Woman," a district attorney on the series finale of "Seinfeld" and the secretary of defense alongside Will Smith in 1996's "Independence Day."

Most recently, he was on television as "Homeland's" Frank Mathison, the father of Claire Danes' Carrie.

Throughout his life, Rebhorn's obituary says, he was "fortunate enough to earn his living doing what he loved. ... A lucky man in every way."

Although his representative did not specify Rebhorn's cause of death, she said he died "at home with his loving family in attendance."

In addition to his wife and daughters, whom he says "made him immensely proud," Rebhorn noted the numerous family members and friends he's leaving behind.

"He loved them all," Rehborn said, "and he knows they loved him."

People we've lost in 2014

CNN's Alan Duke contributed to this report.

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