: I came from dust bowl folk, ordinary people who were stultified by the American Dream.
James Coburn, charismatic and versatile, 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, quick-shooting Britt in the John Sturges mega-hit The Magnificent Seven. Sturges remembered Coburn's talents when he cast his next major film project, The Great Escape, where Coburn played the Australian POW Sedgwick.
The next two years were a key period for Coburn, with his performances in the wonderful 007 spy spoof Our Man Flint. Coburn followed up in 1967 with a Flint sequel, In Like Flint, and the much underrated political satire The President's Analyst.
The remainder of the 1960s was rather uneventful for Coburn. However, he became associated with martial arts legend Bruce Lee and the two trained together, traveled extensively and even visited India scouting locations for a proposed film project, but Lee's untimely death put an end to that.
In 1979, Coburn started suffering from severe rheumatoid arthritis, which left him debilitated at times. In 1998, a holistic healer started him on a dietary supplement, Methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM, that resulted in a drastic improvement in his condition.
At the time of his death, he was at home listening to music and playing his flute.