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James Coburn Dies at 74

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My daughter just turned 3 – she watches Monsters, Inc. at least four times a week. She identifies with Boo, loves the big hairly Sully and the round mono-optical Mike, and she decries the treachery of the orotund, crab-like Mr. Waternoose every time he banishes the heroes to Tibet. What makes the scene memorable, even chilling, is the way Coburn, using only his voice, conveys real regret at having to betray a friend yet steely determination to have his way.

Every time I catch scenes from the flick I say to myself, “Man, what a voice that Waternoose has – I’d trust him too”; and of course Waternoose, the perfidious crab, is James Coburn, whom I’ve always enjoyed.

Coburn died of a heart attack yesterday:

    Coburn had been listening to music at his Beverly Hills home with his wife, when he was struck by a massive coronary about 4:30 p.m. PST, said his manager, Hillard Elkins. He was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

    “He died happy,” Elkins told Reuters.

    Although the tall, bearded actor starred in many memorable films including his 1960 breakthrough “The Magnificent Seven” and the 1966 spy spoof “Our Man Flint,” he never secured a career-defining role until the 1998 drama “Affliction.”

    That film, directed by Paul Schrader, won Coburn an Academy Award for his supporting role as an alcoholic, abusive father to Nick Nolte and Willem Dafoe. Despite his macho swagger, Coburn said his character was “the antithesis of who I am.”

    He can currently be seen in North American theaters playing a terminally ill novelist in “The Man From Elysian Fields,” an independent movie starring Andy Garcia and Mick Jagger.

    Earlier this year, he co-starred opposite Cuba Gooding Jr. in the surprise hit “Snow Dogs.” Plans were afoot for them to reunite in a sequel next year. Last year, he lent his rich voice to a character in the hit cartoon “Monsters, Inc.,” and in 1999 he starred opposite Mel Gibson in “Payback.”

    ….Born in Laurel, Neb., on Aug. 31, 1928, Coburn was raised in Depression-era Los Angeles. He studied acting at Los Angeles City College and the University of Southern California, and then moved to New York to study with Stella Adler.

    He landed his first feature roles in two 1959 westerns, “Ride Lonesome” and “Face of a Fugitive.” The following year, he was cast as one of “The Magnificent Seven,” from which he got work with co-star Steve McQueen in “Hell Is for Heroes” in 1962 and the popular “The Great Escape” in 1963.

    Coburn was propelled to leading man status as suave superspy Derek Flint in “Our Man Flint,” for which he received just $75,000. The 1967 sequel “In Like Flint” was also successful. The pair were recently released on DVD. By the time of his 1967 political satire “The President’s Analyst,” he was getting $450,000 a film.

    ….Two of his favorite films were the 1973 Western “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” and the 1977 World War II movie, “Cross of Iron,” both of which were directed by Sam Peckinpah.

    Coburn also worked in TV, on such diverse projects as the 1981 movie “Valley of the Dolls” and HBO’s “The Second Civil War.” At the time of his death, he was perusing four or five scripts, Elkins said.

    He is survived by his wife, Paula, two children, Lisa and James Jr., and two grandchildren. Coburn and his wife last month put their five-story home on the market for $5.9 million with plans to downsize and travel. [from Reuters]

Herer is a list of Coburn’s films from the BBC:

    2000 to present

    American Guru (2002)

    Snow Dogs (2002)

    Monsters Inc. (2001)

    The Man From Elysian Fields (2001)

    Walter And Henry (2001)

    Yellow Bird (2001)

    Proximity (2001)

    Texas Rangers (2001)

    The Good Doctor (2000)

    Intrepid (2000)

    Missing Pieces (2000)

    Payback (1999)

    Stories From My Childhood (1998)

    Affliction (1997)

    Keys To Tulsa (1997)

    Skeletons (1996)

    The Nutty Professor (1996)

    Eraser (1996)

    C.E.O (1995)

    The Set Up (1995)

    Deadfall (1993)

    Maverick (1994)

    Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit (1993)

    The Fifth Corner (1992)

    The Player (1992)

    Hudson Hawk (1991)

    Young Guns II (1990)

    Train To Heaven (1990)

    Call From Space (1989)

    Walking After Midnight (1988)

    Death Of A Soldier (1988)

    Martin’s Day (1984)

    High Risk (1981)

    Looker (1981)

    Loving Couples (1980)

    Baltimore Bullet (1980)

    Firepower (1979)

    The Muppet Movie (1979)

    Goldengirl (1979)

    Speed Fever (1978)

    California Suite (1978)

    White Rock (1977)

    Cross Of Iron (1977)

    Midway (1976)

    The Last Hard Men (1976)

    Sky Riders (1976)

    Bite The Bullet (1975)

    Hard Times (1975)

    The Internecine Project (1974)

    Harry In your Pocket (1973)

    The Last of Sheila (1973)

    Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid (1973)

    A Reason To Live, A Reason To Die (1972)

    The Honkers (1972)

    The Carey Treatment (1972)

    Duck, You Sucker (1971)
    1960s and before

    Last Of The Mobile Hot Shots (1969)

    Hard Contact (1969)

    Candy (1968)

    Duffy (1968)

    The President’s Analyst (1967)

    Waterhole #3 (1967)

    In Like Flint (1967)

    Dead Heat On A Merry-Go-Round (1966)

    What Did You Do In The War, Daddy (1966)

    Our Man Flint (1966)

    The Loved One (1965)

    A High Wind In Jamaica (1965)

    Major Dundee (1965)

    Action On The Beach (1964)

    The Americanization Of Emily (1964)

    Kings Of The Sun (1963)

    The Man From Galveston (1963)

    Charade (1963)

    The Great Escape (1963)

    Hell Is For Heroes (1962)

    Acapulco (1961)

    The Murder Men (1961)

    The Magnificent Seven (1960)

    Face Of A Fugitive (1959)

    Ride Lonesome (1959)

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About Eric Olsen

  • Debbie

    Does anybody know where I can get a copy of Train to Heaven 1990 with James Coburn???