Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Sad day in Hazzard: Rest in peace, Mr. James Best

We just woke to the sad news that Mr. James Best, our own Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane of "The Dukes of Hazzard," has passed away. The actor was 88. We fondly remember talking to him several times over the years at "Dukes" events. He was full of great stories of old Hollywood, a Hollywood we very much respected, and a Hollywood where this fine actor made his way with skill decades before his spin on "The Dukes." We especially loved his episodes of "The Twilight Zone," where he was such a handsome young'un, and we just saw him on an episode of the 1966 series "The Green Hornet," where he was just as young and so suave as the bad guy. He had range, for sure.

"He will be greatly missed, but his work will last for generations to come," Ben ("Cooter Davenport") Jones posted on his Facebook page. "He was one of a kind, and it was one of the blessings of my life to have worked with him for all these years."

"It's too bad," our friend Mike said at the news. "Nobody could wreck a car like that man." Indeed, Sheriff Rosco's many crashes in the Hazzard pond were a continuing frustration for the actor, who nevertheless took it with aplomb. He somehow knew he was destined to make his mark as Rosco, and that's how we know him, after all these years.

Our prayers for his wife, Dorothy, and his whole family. We are comforted knowing Mr. Best was a saved individual, writing openly about his faith in his autobiography, "Best in Hollywood."

The Charlotte, N.C., Observer has more on our beloved Hazzard County sheriff, and also see the obituary at the actor's official website.

 James Best with John Schneider and Catherine Bach, his "Dukes" castmates, during an interview with the "Today" show at an event in Georgia in spring 2013.

 Best signs a General Lee trunk lid for a fan at Hazzard Homecoming in Virginia in summer 2012.

Best with his "Dukes" castmates at Hazzard Homecoming in summer 2012.

Photos by Billie Rae Bates / BRBTV
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