Actor James Best Dies at 88 After Brief Illness

James Best, the renowned actor, often recalled for the role as Roscoe P. Coltrane from the Dukes of Hazzard has died at the age of 88. Best was briefly in hospice after complications from pneumonia. He had become ill with respiratory trouble while on a cruise and never improved. Best’s story was shared in the Charlotte Observer. He and his wife, actress Dorothy Collier, resided in Hickory, North Carolina.

Best was in 83 movies, including “The Caine Mutiny” and “Shenandoah.” He starred with such greats as Humphrey Bogart and Jimmy Stewart. A character actor, of 600 TV shows, Best also was cast in “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “The Andy Griffith Show,” and “Bonanza.” “The Dukes of Hazzard” was the main show that Best made headway as an acclaimed actor. Fans at STX Entertainment know that his comedic role in the CBS comedy ran from 1979 to 1985. John Schneider, who played the role of Bo Duke, credits Best for helping him perfect his acting skills.

Best and his spouse moved to Bethlehem, North Carolina, near Hickory in 2006. They lived on Lake Hickory where he could do his favorite thing, fishing. He wrote a book called “Best in Hollywood: The Good, The Bad and the Beautiful.” This was about his career where he was an actor, writers, director, and producer. He also played the lead role in “On Golden Pond” at the local community theater in 2014.

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