American actor, James Best who has been a well-known actor for his role as “Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane” in the TV series “The Dukes of Hazzard” died on 6 April, 2015. During his six decades of prolific career, Best worked for 600 TV shows and 83 movies. Apart from being an actor, James also worked as a musician, acting coach, college professor and an artist.
According to Best’s Hollywood colleague and a longtime friend, Steve Latshaw, James died in the hospital followed by a brief illness aroused out of pneumonia complications. He fell ill on a cruise with some respiratory trouble and had never recovered since then, leading to death at the age of 88.
Best’s acting career began from the military theatrical company, which he joined during World War II, when serving in Germany. After the end of the war, he moved to the NYC with a wish to be recognized as a Broadway star. His early career includes appearance in movies such as “One Way Street” and TV series “Annie Oakley”.
The Dukes of Hazzard, through which James earned reputation in the industry, is a rural comedy was screened on CBS during 1979-1985. In addition to this, he also appeared on other classic TV series, like I Spy, Mod Squad, Rawhide, Perry Manson, The Andy Griffith Show and Gunsmoke. With a semi-retirement, James started the production company along with working as an occasional actor. He played his last role in ‘The Sweeter Side of Life’, a Hallmark film of 2013.
During his later life, after he almost retired from acting, James joined the University of Central Florida, Orlando as a teacher. Before this, James served as an acting coach in LA for over 25 years, teaching acting and drama techniques. Some of his pupils from his acting school earned reputation as top names in the Hollywood.
James started working on his autobiography ‘Best in Hollywood: The Good, The Bad & The Beautiful”, which he completed in the year 2009. The book was published through Bear Manor Media in the same year and was premiered in Aberdeen, Maryland at the Mid Atlantic Nostalgia Convention.
Tom Wopat, who played as Luke Duke in ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ memorized him as a dedicated co-star. He described Best as a fine professional, as a director, actor as well as a mentor and a better friend, who will be missed greatly. John Shneider stated that he had learned the most about acting from Jimmie Best then he did from anyone else.
After his death, James is survived by a wife, 2 daughters, a son and 3 grandchildren.