James Coburn

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James Harrison Coburn III[1] (August 31, 1928 – November 18, 2002)[2] was an American film and television actor. Coburn appeared in nearly 70 films and made over 100 television appearances during his 45-year career,[3][4] and played a wide range of roles and won an Academy Award for his supporting role as Glen Whitehouse in Affliction.[5]


Early life

Coburn was born in Laurel, Nebraska, the son of Mylet S. (née Johnson) and James Harrison Coburn, Jr., who had a garage business that was wiped out by the Great Depression.[6] Coburn was of Scotch-Irish and Swedish descent.[1] He was raised in Compton, California, attended Compton Junior College, and enlisted in the US Army in 1950, serving as an Army truck driver and also was an occasional disc jockey on an Army radio station in Texas. Coburn also narrated Army training films in Mainz, Germany.[7] He attended Los Angeles City College, where he studied acting alongside Jeff Corey and Stella Adler, then made his stage debut at the La Jolla Playhouse in Billy Budd.[8] Coburn was selected for a Remington Products razor commercial when he was able to shave off eleven days of beard growth in less than 60 seconds,[9] while joking that he had more teeth to show on camera than the other 12 candidates for the part.[10]

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