- Category : Actor
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (12,36,45,59)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Planning 3
James Harrison Coburn (August 31, 1928 – November 18, 2002) was an Academy Award-winning American actor.
Coburn was born in Laurel, Nebraska to James Harrison Coburn, Sr., a garage mechanic, and Mylet S. Johnson; his maternal grandparents were immigrants from Sweden. Coburn grew up in Compton, California and acted in college, eventually making his stage debut at the La Jolla Playhouse.
Coburn became famous as the "tough guy" in a variety of films, first mostly with his friends Robert Vaughn and Charles Bronson (with whom he co-starred in The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape). In 1966, Coburn finally became a bona-fide star with the release of Our Man Flint, a James Bond spoof released by 20th Century Fox as competition. After a sequel, Coburn decided to branch off into the independent film world. Due to his interests in karate (which he discovered by training with Bruce Lee), Buddhism, and gong-playing, the remainder of the decade (which included less-than-memorable films) proved uneventful to Coburn.
In 1973, however, Coburn teamed up with radical director Sam Peckinpah for the film Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (they had first worked together in 1965 on Major Dundee). But an MGM producer tried to sabotage the production causing the film to be drastically edited when it opened. Both Peckinpah and Coburn were disappointed and delved into Cross of Iron, a war epic which also flopped. The two still remained good friends until the legendary director's death in 1984 of a stroke.
Due to severe rheumatoid arthritis, he appeared in very few films during the 1980s and spent time writing songs with his partner at that time, British singer-songwriter Lynsey De Paul. He claimed to have healed himself with pills containing a sulfur-containing compound, and returned to screen in the 1990s. He then appeared in films such as Young Guns II (1990), Sister Act 2 (1993), Maverick (1994), The Nutty Professor (1996), and Payback (1999), mostly in small but memorable roles. For his appearance as the abusive father of protagonist Nick Nolte in Affliction he received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1998.
Coburn died suddenly on November 18, 2002 at the age of 74, from a cardiac arrest, while listening to the radio. He was survived by his wife Paula Murad, a son, and a stepdaughter. Paula Murad would later die of cancer on July 30, 2004, at the age of 49.