Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Actor James Best Has Died at 88

Character actor James Best, whose long screen career began with a bit role in 1950's ONE WAY STREET and continued to the present day, has died at the age of 88.

Best was most recently seen in the Hallmark Channel TV-movie THE SWEETER SIDE OF LIFE (2013). He's listed on IMDb in the cast of a film in pre-production, OLD SOLDIERS, costarring Hugh O'Brian and Rance Howard.

Best was in over 185 films and TV shows in the span of 65 years. His earliest work includes small roles in movies such as COMANCHE TERRITORY (1950), WINCHESTER '73 (1950), APACHE DRUMS (1951), and SEMINOLE (1953), to name just a few.

Best continued in that vein throughout the '50s, then appearing in a more substantive and memorable role as Billy John, a somewhat comical villain in Budd Boetticher's RIDE LONESOME(1959), one of my all-time favorite Westerns. I've watched RIDE LONESOME multiple times in a fairly short time span, and I know I'll be returning to it often in the years to come. Each character in the film's small cast is unforgettable, including Best as the whiny Billy John.

Best guest-starred in countless TV series but is inevitably remembered by many for playing the sheriff on THE DUKES OF HAZZARD (1979-85).

His memoir was published by BearManor Media in 2009.

At Comet Over Hollywood, Jessica remembers a wonderful day just one year ago when she interviewed Best and later had dinner with him.

Toby also pays tribute to Best at 50 Westerns From the 50s.

Additional obituaries were published by People and CNN.


Blogger Cynthia said...

I adore James Best in Ride Lonesome and on Dukes but I also got a real kick when I realized he was the hero of my favorite B-movie The Killer Shrews. A wonderful actor.

1:42 AM  

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