James Harrison Coburn III was born in Laurel, Nebraska on August 31, 1928, the son of James Harrison Coburn II (1902–1975) and Mylet S. Coburn (née Johnson; 1900–1984). His father was of Scots-Irish ancestry and his mother was an immigrant from Sweden. The elder Coburn had a garage business that was destroyed by the Great Depression.
James Coburn, Actor: The Great Escape. Lanky, charismatic and versatile actor with an amazing grin that put everyone at ease, James Coburn studied acting at UCLA, and then moved to New York to study under noted acting coach Stella Adler. After being noticed in several stage productions, Coburn appeared in a handful of minor westerns before being cast as the knife-throwing, ...
Mini Bio (1) Lanky, charismatic and versatile actor with an amazing grin that put everyone at ease, James Coburn studied acting at UCLA, and then moved to New York to study under noted acting coach Stella Adler. After being noticed in several stage productions, Coburn appeared in a handful of minor westerns before being cast as the knife ...
- James Harrison Coburn III
- 6' 1¾" (1.87 m)
- August 31, 1928 in Laurel, Nebraska, USA
- Early Life
- Death and Legacy
- Critical Analysis
- External Links
Coburn was born on August 31, 1928 in Laurel, Nebraska, the son of James Harrison Coburn II and Mylet Coburn. His father was of Scottish-Irish ancestry and his mother was an immigrant from Sweden. The elder Coburn had a garage business that was destroyed by the Great Depression. Coburn himself was raised in Compton, California, where he attended Compton Junior College. In 1950, he enlisted in the United States Army, in which he served as a truck driver and occasionally a disc jockey on an Army radio station in Texas. Coburn also narrated Army training films in Mainz, Germany.
Coburn attended Los Angeles City College, where he studied acting alongside Jeff Corey and Stella Adler, and later made his stage debut at the La Jolla Playhouse in Herman Melville's Billy Budd.
Coburn's interest in fast cars began with his father's garage business and continued throughout his life, as he exported rare cars to Japan. Coburn was credited with having introduced Steve McQueen to Ferraris, and in the early 1960s owned a Ferrari 250 GT Lusso and a Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California SWB. His Spyder was the thirteenth of just fifty-six built. Coburn imported the pre-owned car in 1964, shortly after completing The Great Escape. The car was restored and sold for $10,894,400 to English broadcaster Chris Evans, setting a new world record for the highest price ever paid for an automobile at auction. Cal Spyder #2377 was repainted several times during Coburn's ownership; it has been black, silver and possibly burgundy. He kept the car at his Beverly Hills-area home, where it was often serviced by Max Balchowsky, who also worked on the suspension and frame modifications on those Mustang GTs used in the filming of McQueen’s Bullitt. Coburn sold the Spyder in 1987 after twen...
Coburn died of a heart attack on November 18, 2002 while listening to music at his Beverly Hills home. He was survived by his second wife, Paula(née Murad), two children and two grandchildren. His wife Paula died less than two years later on July 30, 2004 at the age of 48, due to cancer.
In The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, critic David Thomson states that "Coburn is a modern rarity: an actor who projects lazy, humorous sexuality. He has made a variety of flawed, pleasurable films, the merits of which invariably depend on his laconic presence. Increasingly, he was the best thing in his movies, smiling privately, seeming to suggest that he was in contact with some profound source of amusement". Film critic Pauline Kael remarked on Coburn's unusual characteristics, stating that "he looked like the child of the liaison between Lt. Pinkerton and Madame Butterfly". George Hickenlooper, who directed Coburn in The Man from Elysian Fields called him "the masculine male". Andy García called him "the personification of class, the hippest of the hip", and Paul Schrader noted "he was of that 50's generation. He had that part hipster, part cool-cat aura about him. He was one of those kind of men who were formed by the Rat Packkind of style."
Nov 19, 2002 · James Coburn, the tough-guy actor in films that included "Our Man Flint" and "The Magnificent Seven," but who won an Academy Award years later for his portrayal of a dissolute father in ...
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- August 31, 1928
Nov 18, 2002 · Actor. Born James Harrison Coburn, III, the son of an auto mechanic, he was raised in Compton, California and experienced his first taste of acting playing Herod in a school play at the age of four. He earned wages working as a janitor and ticket taker in a movie theater during his teenage years and attended Los...
Nov 20, 2002 · James Coburn, the classic Hollywood tough-guy who fought his way back from crippling arthritis to win an Oscar in an extraordinary comeback performance, died of a heart attack yesterday in Los ...
- Julian Borger
Coburn went on to play roles in several other films directed by Sturges, including the World War II epic The Great Escape. In 1966, Coburn starred in Our Man Flint, a satirical spoof of James Bond films. As the epitome of the suave super agent, Coburn used his lanky good looks, toothy grin, and baritone voice to play the ultra–cool Derek Flint.
Jun 26, 2020 · Inside James Coburn’s house: “We live in a house of travel treasures.”. If anyone ever lived with the things they love,” say actor James Coburn and his wife Beverly, “We do. We’ve toted all kinds of things back from trips and far-flung movie locations.”. Yet, with the help of interior designer Tony Duquette, the house is far more ...