Dukes of Hazzard Star James Best Dies at 88

James Best, who starred as Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane on Dukes of Hazzard, died Monday of complications from pneumonia at a hospice facility in Hickory, North Carolina, The Charlotte Observer reports. He was 88.

Born Jewel Franklin Guy in Powderly, Kentucky, Best spent time in an orphanage after his mother's death when he was a child and was later raised by adoptive parents in Indiana. He served as a gunner in the Army Air Force during World War II and began acting after the war ended.

Though he's best known for his Dukes of Hazzard role, Best appeared in more than 80 movies and hundreds of TV shows, including Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Perry Mason, and The Andy Griffith Show.

He also taught an acting technique class in Hollywood for 25 years, in addition to teaching classes at the University of Mississippi and the University of Central Florida.

Best's last film credit was the 2013 Hallmark movie The Sweeter Side of Life, which was written and produced by his daughter and son-in-law. As recently as 2014, he starred in a community theater production of On Golden Pond in Hickory. He was also set to star in a film about World War II veterans that was scheduled to begin filming later this year.

Best is survived by his wife, a son, two daughters, and three grandchildren.


This article originally appears on TV Guide.com.

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Apr 07, 2015
Such a fun actor.He helped make Dukes Of Hazzard so enjoyable to watch.
He will be missed.
R.I.P.James Best


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Apr 07, 2015
It was kind of cool to see him in that Hallmark Channel movie. At first I didn't recognize him and then I realized who it was. I did not know it was written by family members. Unfortunately, it was not good movie, as is usual for most Hallmark films, but fun to see him still active at the time. Best wishes, James, in your next role in life.
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Apr 07, 2015

I remember him from The Andy Griffith Show. He could play a mean guitar.

RIP.




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Apr 07, 2015
I'll wait for Gislef's Twilight Zone obituary...
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Apr 07, 2015
May we all reach his age and have such families around us when our times come. Have a good journey James Best, you dedicated your life to making us happy.
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Apr 07, 2015
It's almost a shame that, like Denver Pyle, The Dukes of Hazard is what James Best is probably best remembered for. He was in a lot of shows during the '50s and '60s, including the Have Gun - Will Travel two-parter with Sydney Pollack. I remember being surprised that he had second billing in the Twilight Zone episode "The Grave" ahead of Lee van Cleef and Strother Martin, which, like "The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank," was written and directed by Montgomery Pittman. But at least Best is remembered, unlike many character actors.

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Apr 07, 2015
I just watched "The Grave" last Sunday, just before his death on MeTV which was presenting it as part of the Vince Gilligan's Island of MeTV programming block that night. Fine ep with James playing a guitar player taunting Lee Marvin with a bet against him concerning him visiting a late enemy's grave.
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Apr 07, 2015
Rest in peace, sir.
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Apr 07, 2015
James Best was so perfect as Rosco P. Coltrane (kew kew kew!), his performances were always exactly what was needed for scenes, never too menacing, always funny. But I actually remember him from The Andy Griffith Show as well in his episodes where he played the guitar player, he was really good there, a very different part. Best was a wonderful character actor, his passing is entertainment's loss.
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