James Best appeared in dozens of westerns, dramas and comedies throughout his six decade career in Hollywood. Some of his most notable appearances include Seven Angry Men (1955), The Naked and the Dead (1958), Ride Lonesome (1959), Three On a Couch (1966) and Firecreek (1968).
He is probably best known to television buffs as playing Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane in the iconic “Dukes of Hazzard” series from 1979 to 1985. He would always return to the budding franchise, providing voice overs for “The Dukes” in 1983, The Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion! (1997), and The Dukes of Hazzard: Hazzard in Hollywood (2000).
Being that this is a horror film website, I have to mention that James Best appeared in a handful of horror films. He played the lead role of Thorne Sherman in the cult classic The Killer Shrews (1959) and he returned in the same role for the sequel, Return of the Killer Shrews in 2013. His other credits in this field include I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957), The Savage Bees (1976), The Brain Machine (1977) and Death Mask (1998).
Best was also an acting coach, artist, author, college professor, musician and veteran of the United States Army. Quentin Tarrantino credits him as the man who taught him how to act.
R.I.P. James Best
July 26, 1926 – April 6, 2015