Obituary: Mary Rehbein had genuine warmth

  • Article by: JAMES WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 28, 2012 - 9:39 PM

Mary Rehbein starred in feature films and was the voice of many radio ads.

Movie fans might remember Mary Rehbein, a local actress and voice talent, from the several made-in-Minnesota feature films in which she appeared. Even more likely, they heard her warm, down-to-earth voice on the radio, plugging such entities as Rainbow Foods, Toro, Purina, Caribou Coffee and the YMCA.

That warmth oozing from the radio was genuine, said Susan Wehmann, who had worked with and represented Rehbein for 24 years.

"She was whole and complete, rather than just a performer," Wehmann said.

Rehbein, 51, died June 16. Services for her were held Thursday.

Rehbein's voice still can be heard in recent radio spots. She had just completed an ad for St. Catherine University in May.

Her radio spots and other voice work are currently memorialized online at the Wehmann Agency website: www.wehmann.com. She was the type of person to embrace everyone with whom she worked -- cast, crew, client. And she was a consummate professional, Wehmann said. As a result, Rehbein was always busy.

"She worked a lot. She was one of the few local actors that worked regularly, weekly, which is not always the case," her former agent said. At least half of her work came from clients requesting her, rather than through auditions. Her reputation was that strong, Wehmann said.

"She was extraordinarily talented. She could interpret a script exactly the way a client intended it to be. Mary knew how to get on mike and sound like she was having a great conversation with you."

She was genuinely warm, truly caring and, Wehmann said, had a "range that was conversationally intimate. When you listened to her, you felt like you were talking, too."

Rehbein was born and raised in Cannon Falls, Minn. She studied for two years at the University of Montana in Missoula before moving to California. She received a degree from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, West, and did additional training at UCLA.

She worked as an actor in the Los Angeles area for six years but returned to Minnesota to be closer to family. A member of SAG and AFTRA, her credits ranged from a recurring role on "Days of Our Lives" television drama to parts in Minnesota-made movies "Drop Dead Gorgeous," "A Chance of Snow" and "Old Explorers." Her advertising work included national and regional voiceovers, on-camera commercials, print ads and industrials.

Rehbein was also a massage therapist who enjoyed skiing, running, tennis, yoga, gardening and working on her home. She is survived by her fiancé, Dik Shopteau, of Minneapolis; her mother, Patricia, of Cannon Falls; a brother, David, of Missoula, Mont., and two sisters, Ann of Nelson, Wis., and Joan Nyberg of St. Paul.

James Walsh • 612-673-7428

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