James Rebhorn portrayed one of GUIDING LIGHT’s most evil villains, but the women who played Bradley’s battered wife and step-daughter, Tina Sloan (Lillian) and Judi Evans (Beth), have nothing but fond memories for the actor, who passed away on Friday following a long battle with skin cancer.
“He was too young — far, far too young,” a saddened Sloan tells Soaps In Depth. “He was such a joy to work with and we all loved him, as evil as he was as he portrayed Bradley Raines. Beneath, he was gentle and kind and always professional.”
Sloan adds that Rebhorn may have portrayed a monster, but it was exceptionally emotional to watch when Bradley raped Beth in October of 1983. “It was the hardest thing to see him do that scene as he was destroyed that he had to play it,” she recalls. “He had two daughters at home whom he adored, but as a consummate professional, he did the most superb performance of destroying Beth.”
Thirty hears later, Sloan and her co-stars still get a chuckle when recalling one of Bradley and Lillian’s tumultuous scenes. “He had a line we all loved as it was part of the show — no matter what happened, he’d say ‘It’s your fault, Lillian! Shut up and get me a beer!’ Grant Alexander (Phillip), Judi, Michael O’Leary (Rick) and I would laugh so hard we couldn’t reply and Jim would just smile and say the line again. To this day, Grant and I do “the line” when we are together. When Grant and I went to see Jim in a play a few years back, we said “the line” and he chimed in with that great smile.
“He was talented and wonderful and he will be missed by everyone who ever knew him,” she concludes. “I feel blessed I played his wife for a few years and, as everyone, send my great sympathy to his real wife and daughters.”
Like Sloan, Evans warmly remembers Rebhorn as being “the total opposite of the character. James was such a gentle, sweet man — that’s the proof of what a great actor he was,” she tells In Depth. “He could be the funniest, silliest man. I was so blessed to work with him. My first experience [in television] was having Tina and James as parents! You don’t get better than that. I learned about dedication to acting through James. He and Larry Gates [who played H.B.] had us rolling in the aisles in the makeup room. They did rap before it was rap. James was always sensitive. He hated having to do what he had to do!”