Jules Franklin Guy was renamed James Best by his adoptive parents after being orphaned at the age of three[ref]James Best IMDB Biography[/ref] in Powderly, Kentucky.
Best exited the planet at 88 after a bout with pneumonia[ref]Charlotte Observer[/ref]
A fellow veteran, Best’s acting career began while in the United States Army, under the direction of Arthur Penn.
His Southern accent limited him somewhat in the roles he portrayed. Still, he worked steadily in the industry:
- Nearly 200 acting credits[ref]James Best IMDB Filmography[/ref]
- Artist-in-residence at the University of Mississippi
- Producer of projects for Burt Reynolds
- Earned a black belt in karate
- Taught on campus at the University of Central Florida
- Formed the first school to teach actors Motion Picture Technique
However, despite many other noteworthy achievements, he is best known and loved as the bumbling sheriff of Hazzard County… Roscoe P. Coltrane.
Below… enjoy a couple samples of his work on that classic program:
I have fond memories of walking into the terminal at Denpasar International Airport in Bali, Indonesia. Two things stood out to me. First, seeing fellow Mount Airy / Philadelphia native Holly Robinson Peete. Second, seeing The Dukes of Hazzard on every television around the terminal. That was the staying power of the show.
According to Best[ref]Yahoo TV News[/ref], most of the writers of Dukes of Hazzard were veterans of McHale’s Navy and were not adept at writing Southern Bumpkins. Best helped them out by improvising much of his dialogue.
James Best also had a number of famous relations:
- Cousin of the Everly Brothers
- Father of Janeen Damian
- Father-in-law of Michael Damian
- Brother-in-law of John Collier
- Former Boyfriend of Jeanne Cooper
- Bionic Woman Lindsay Wagner was his childrens’ babysitter
- The Dukes of Hazzard dog Flash was James Best’s real-life pet
Our prayers for his family, friends, loved-ones and fans around the world. We will close with one more clip from Best’s best work (k’ew k’ew k’ew) with Andy Griffith: