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Published On: Thu, Apr 9th, 2015

James Best, ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ actor, Roscoe, dies at age 88

James Best, a veteran character actor best known as Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane on CBS’ action-comedy series The Dukes Of Hazzard, died Monday of pneumonia in Hickory, North Carolina. He was 88.

The Charlotte Observer noted that his “career included roles in such movies as “The Caine Mutiny” with Humphrey Bogart and “Shenandoah” with Jimmy Stewart. As a character actor in television, he was cast on popular shows like “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “Bonanza” and “The Andy Griffith Show.”’

James Best as Roscoe P Coltrane Dukes of HazzardDeadline chronicled the success of Roscoe and those Dukes’: “The Dukes Of Hazzard was a throwback of sorts to CBS’ signature rural comedies of 1960s, this time packed with car chases, banjo music and Waylon Jennings’ narration. Best played the dimwitted but enduring Sheriff Coltrane opposite Sorrell Booke’s Boss Hogg for the series’ entire six-season run and more than 140 episodes. Every week he was on the trail of those wild Duke boys — Luke (Tom Wopat) and Bo (John Schneider). It premiered in January 1979 as the lead-in to CBS’ Dallas, and both shows became massive hits. Dukes was among the top 10 primetime programs for three consecutive years and was the No. 2 show behind Dallas for the 1980-81 season. The series wrapped in 1985 but not before launching a subgenre of imitations including Harper Valley P.T.A., Lobo and the spinoff Enos.

Wikipedia lists some of his big successes: “In 1991, in contrast to the comical Rosco Coltrane of Dukes of Hazzard, Best appeared in an episode of the NBC crime drama In the Heat of the Night. He won the Crystal Reel Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Nathan Bedford in the episode “Sweet, Sweet Blues”, directed by Vincent McEveety and written by William James Royce…” as well as mentioning his book and teaching UCF in Florida.
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