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The Muppet Show guest star
episode 505

Coburn on the set of The Muppet Movie

James Coburn (1928-2002) was an Academy Award-winning film actor known for playing tough guys (both villains and heroes), particularly in Westerns (The Magnificent Seven, Spaghetti Westerns) and war movies (including The Great Escape). In 1979, he had a cameo role in The Muppet Movie as the owner of the El Sleezo Cafe. He had an even briefer appearance in the tie-in special The Muppets Go Hollywood.

The following year, Coburn was the featured guest star on The Muppet Show episode 505, playing on his tough guy image. He was interviewed about his experiences in the 2002 documentary I Love Muppets, and the same year, he appeared in Snow Dogs (with a Creature Shop-effects sequence).

Coburn won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1999, for playing an abusive alcoholic in the film Affliction. His early career began in television, in anthologies (including The Twilight Zone), playing Western heavies (Bonanza, Wagon Train, and others), and twice as loathed victims on Perry Mason. Other movies included Charade (with Audrey Hepburn), The Last of Sheila (with Raquel Welch), Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (as Garrett opposite Kris Kristofferson as Billy), Firepower (with Sophia Loren and Sonia Manzano), the film version of Maverick, Eraser (with Arnold Schwarzenegger), and a cameo as himself in Robert Altman's The Player.

Coburn worked in comedy as well, playing spy Derek Flint in the genre spoofs In Like Flint and Our Man Flint, starring in What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (directed by Blake Edwards), and playing against type as The President's Analyst (with Arte Johnson). He later played stuffy foils in Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (with Whoopi Goldberg) and The Nutty Professor (with Eddie Murphy) and voiced CEO Henry J. Waternoose in Monsters Inc.

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