Passed away: ‘Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane’ was a B-17 gunner

James Best was an American on-screen character, who is best known for his principle performance as blundering Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane in the CBS TV show “The Dukes of Hazzard”. He was also an acting mentor, craftsman, school teacher and a great performer.

He served respectably in the United States Army during the Second World War, he began his training in 1944 in Biloxi, Mississippi and trained up as a gunner on a B-17 bomber aircraft, but when he came to the end of his training, the war was nearly at an end, and so he chose to join the Military Police. As an MP, he played his best role in conveying strength, firmness, and stability to a war-torn Germany instantly after their surrender.

While positioned in Germany, Best transferred out from the MP and joined a Special services unit of on-screen characters (actors) for the US Army that went around Europe performing plays for the troops. This was the real start of his acting profession.

Early years

His mom was the sister of Ike Everly. He was sent to the orphans’ house after his mother’s death. Afterward, he was received and taken up by Armen Best (1897-1984) and his wife Essa (1896-1988), and they start living in Corydon, Indiana.

The Dukes of Hazzard

Best played Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane on CBS’s The Dukes of Hazard from the very first episode of the program in 1979 until it finished in 1985. This part was Best’s most noticeable achievement. He later revealed that the cartoon-like persona of Sheriff Coltrane was produced from a voice that he utilized when playing with his kids. On the set, Best was especially close to his brother-in-law as well the manager, Sorrell Booke.

Later Career

After a few years, he went to Florida and instructed at the University of Central Florida (Orlando). After semi-retiring, Best ran a production company and took intermittent acting parts. He additionally earned a name for himself as a craftsman and painter.

Best was a great acting coach. He taught drama as well as different acting skills for about 25 years in Los Angeles. He also taught dramatization and worked as a craftsman at the University of Mississippi (Oxford) for a long time preceding his spell on The Dukes of Hazard. In 2009, he finished his autobiography “Best In Hollywood: The Good, The Bad and The Beautiful”.

Personal Life & Health

Best got married to his 2nd wife, Jobee Ayers, in 1959 but unfortunately divorced in 1977. He had two daughters from his 2nd marriage and a son from his first. He got married to 3rd wife, Dorothy Collier, in 1986. He died on 6th April, 2015.