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James Coburn
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James Coburn

Born in Nebraska, James Coburn first began acting at Los Angeles City College, sharing the stage with such acting legends as Vincent Price. Moving to New York, he worked in various television commercials and such dramatic series as Studio One and General Electric Theatre. Five years later he moved back to Los Angeles and continued his studies under Jeff Corey.

After his dazzling performance in John Sturge's The Magnificent Seven, Coburn went on to delight audiences worldwide with his roles in films like The President's Analyst, which he also produced, The Great Escape, Golden Girl, as well as in the spy spoofs, Our Man Flint and In Like Flint. His starring role in the CBS mini-series The Dain Curse brought him superb reviews. He also starred in High Risk, Looker, Mr. Patman and for television, Valley of the Dolls, Malibu and Draw.

Over the course of his career, Coburn has co-starred with many of today's hottest Hollywood talent: Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster in Maverick, Arnold Schwarzenegger in Eraser and Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor. He also appeared in Young Guns II with Emilio Estevez, Keifer Sutherland and Christian Slater, Deadfall with Nicholas Cage, Hudson Hawk with Bruce Willis and Sister Act II with Whoopi Goldberg.

For his amazing performance in Paul Schrader's Affliction, Coburn won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1999. He also reteamed with Mel Gibson that year, in Warner Bros.' successful action release Payback.

Recent television credits include: The Cherokee Kid, The Second Civil War and Proximity for HBO, Showtime's production of Larry Gelbart's Mastergate, ABC's movie of the week Mr. Murder, Hallmark Hall of Fame's Noah's Ark and Atticus and Shake, Rattle and Roll for CBS. In August of this year, Coburn completed shooting Walter and Henry for producer Norman Jewison and Showtime.

Coburn was recently seen in the 2002 release of Snow Dogs, a Disney project in which he co-stars with Cuba Gooding Jr. He has also recently filmed Yellow Bird, a short film shot digitally and directed by Faye Dunaway, as well as The Man From Elysian Fields for producer Jordan Kerner.

From sinister gangster to hard-nosed soldier, comic spy to dark romantic figure, Coburn has proven to be one of Hollywood's most versatile acting legends, lending his talent to over 100 films. Some of Coburn's personal favorites include Pat Garret and Billy the Kid and Cross of Iron, which teamed him up with close friend and legendary director, the late Sam Peckinpah. American Gun was James Coburn's final film.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2003.

James Coburn Facts

BirthdayAugust 31, 1928
BirthplaceLaurel, Nebraska, USA
Date of deathNovember 18, 2002 (age 74)
Height6' 3" (1m91)  How tall is James Coburn compared to you?
Awards1999 Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor (for Affliction)

Selected Filmography

Not available.