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James Best

James Best

Birthday: 26 July 1926, Powderly, Kentucky, USA
Birth Name: Jewel Franklin Guy
Height: 185 cm

American character actor and teacher. Born Jewel Guy in Powderly, Kentucky, on July 26, 1926, he was orphaned at three and adopted by Armen and Essa Best, who re-named him James K. Best and raised him ...Show More

James Best
I just kept painting. I paint every day now and have sold some to Europe, and I do commission painti Show more I just kept painting. I paint every day now and have sold some to Europe, and I do commission paintings. I paint Southern landscapes and some still-lives. What I love to paint mostly is old barns and ponds and creeks that I might conjure up in my mind. Hide
[in 2012, about playing the guitar for his guest-starring role on The Andy Griffith Show (1960)] I'm Show more [in 2012, about playing the guitar for his guest-starring role on The Andy Griffith Show (1960)] I'm not in the habit of lying, and yes, it's really important and they called me and say, "Can you play the guitar?". I said, "Are you kidding? I have two guitars" and I got over on the set and this is the music and I said, "I can't play that". They said, "You lied, you could play the guitar". I said, "No, I didn't lie. I said, 'I have two guitars'." Hide
When I was putting the "Best of Hollywood" book together, I sat down and added up just the list of W Show more When I was putting the "Best of Hollywood" book together, I sat down and added up just the list of Westerns I've done, and it came to well over 200. Hide
[on his early career] Well, I was very lucky, because I was under contract with Universal Studios fo Show more [on his early career] Well, I was very lucky, because I was under contract with Universal Studios for two years, and after I got out of there, I got up with Gene Autry and his series. So I was working constantly. Hide
[on reprising his role in the movie Return of the Killer Shrews (2012)]: Well, it was funny, because Show more [on reprising his role in the movie Return of the Killer Shrews (2012)]: Well, it was funny, because I did the original The Killer Shrews as a favor. I made a movie with Sammy Ford, who was friends with a special effects man, Ray Kellogg, who wanted to direct his own picture. And we looked at the original's script, and he didn't have hardly any money whatsoever, but I did him a favor by acting in it. Ken Curtis, of course, was producing it from the start. I like Ken, and he wanted me to do it, so I went down there to Texas where we shot this thing. I didn't realize it was so cheap. I mean, it was really cheap. For me it was a blast, but it was so bad! I think it was voted the worst picture of the year at the time. And then it caught on as a drive-in cult film, and believe it or not, after so many years I noticed that it was playing all over the place. Somebody colorized it and The Killer Shrews became a little cult film. Steve Latshaw directed and produced a lot of little horror films that turned out to be very successful. And he said to me "why don't we do a sequel to The Killer Shrews!" and laughed. I said "Are you kidding? That was the worst movie that I've ever made!" And we kept talking about it through the years and, you know, 50 years later we decided that we were willing do it! So we got together and we wrote a script and I called John Schneider, who of course everybody knows John from the Dukes of Hazzard, where he played Bo Duke, and we got Bruce Davidson who starred in Willard, and also we got Rick Hurst who was in Dukes of Hazzard as Cletus, and so we had a fun cast. So we decided to shoot our little movie in North Carolina, and we did, and we got a beautiful production out of it. We showed it several times in different drive-in movie places, and the public really liked it. Then we put it on the web at KillerShrewsMovie.com and we've had really good reactions to the picture, and so we're very excited about it. Return of the Killer Shrews is a tiny sequel. I mean, we didn't do a real slasher type of horror film. It was more of a "come and see it and we'll scare you and make you laugh" kind of movie, and we're so proud of it. Hide
[About auditioning for one of the starring roles on The Dukes of Hazzard (1979)]: Well, I said, 'Wel Show more [About auditioning for one of the starring roles on The Dukes of Hazzard (1979)]: Well, I said, 'Well, I'll do what I used to do with my little girls,' when they were little, I'd go, 'Kew-kew-kew-kew,' I'm going to get to you. Well, they fell off the couch, laughing, and I was the first one they signed. Hide
[In 2006]: Actually the southern landscapes. I'm an old country boy I was born in Kentucky. I found Show more [In 2006]: Actually the southern landscapes. I'm an old country boy I was born in Kentucky. I found out the Everly Brothers were my first cousins. I was adopted. I don't know why I can't sing. Thank God I can paint. Hide
[on Norman Lloyd turning 100 in 2014] I had the honor to have been directed by Norman in [The Alfred Show more [on Norman Lloyd turning 100 in 2014] I had the honor to have been directed by Norman in [The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: The Jar (1964)]. Having worked with hundreds of directors in my career, I found very few that had Norman's qualities. He was most kind, gracious and patient with his actors. He is in all respects a complete gentleman in his personal life and I found it a genuine pleasure just to be in the presence of such a talented man. I am also doubly honored to consider him my friend. We are so blessed to have such a man among us for so long. Hide
[Who said in 2006 about his painting, while starring in The Dukes of Hazzard (1979)]: Oh yeah, I had Show more [Who said in 2006 about his painting, while starring in The Dukes of Hazzard (1979)]: Oh yeah, I had a captive audience. Even before the show, I used to make pictures with Burt Reynolds and Jimmy Stewart and all those people, and I'd go in my dressing room for lunch and paint. Burt Reynolds would buy a new one of my paintings every time he got a new girlfriend. So I'd say Burt, aren't you tired of that girl yet? Hide
[In 2011]: They put the camera practically in my mouth and said we want to introduce you to your bro Show more [In 2011]: They put the camera practically in my mouth and said we want to introduce you to your brother and it was... it was one of my brothers I'd never met. Hide
[in 2009, about his role as Rosco Coltrane in The Dukes of Hazzard (1979)] I acted the part, as good Show more [in 2009, about his role as Rosco Coltrane in The Dukes of Hazzard (1979)] I acted the part, as good as I could. Rosco, let's face it, was a charmer. It was a fun thing. Hide
[About writing his own book : "Best in Hollywood"]: I decided to write this book to share my own per Show more [About writing his own book : "Best in Hollywood"]: I decided to write this book to share my own personal journey living the American Dream. I hope it can inspire, as well as provide an honest, historical depiction of how Hollywood once was . . . and perhaps could be again some day. Hide
I went to Rome, Paris and these places, and see people come up and go 'Kew-kew-kew-kew,' Rosco. I went to Rome, Paris and these places, and see people come up and go 'Kew-kew-kew-kew,' Rosco.
[on getting into trouble while under contract with Universal Pictures] Well, actually I didn't make Show more [on getting into trouble while under contract with Universal Pictures] Well, actually I didn't make a habit of doing that, because I heard, if . . . well, you're not supposed to take the girls that are "under contract". I made a mistake, she was beautiful, she's been on Look Magazine and I was honored to go out with her, but she was a blabbermouth and she came back to the studio, and everybody said, "You were out with this and you heard? Well, how did you find out?". I said, "She was taking everybody, we had six-month options and I've been there for two years. I had three first features unreleased and all of a sudden, they called me . . . my option came up and I said, 'Well, I want a raise', and he said, 'No, you stay on the same salary or we're going to dump you.' I said, 'You're kidding, of course!' I got three features unreleased and they said, 'We're serious!' Hide
Kentucky holds a special place in my heart. Kentucky holds a special place in my heart.
[on his feelings towards aging and death] The only thing that makes me sad about having so little ti Show more [on his feelings towards aging and death] The only thing that makes me sad about having so little time left is leaving the people I love and those who love me. There are also films and other projects that I want to get done, and there are always fish that need catching. Hide
[In 1998]: I created a character that millions of people still love. I brought something to this sho Show more [In 1998]: I created a character that millions of people still love. I brought something to this show that no one else likely could have. I didn't get a cut of the merchandising on a show that inspired thousands of products, and even though you can still watch me play Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane every day on television, the checks from that job stopped coming a long time ago. Hide
[in 2013] I did meet The Everly Brothers once and we talked for awhile. Then we figured out we were Show more [in 2013] I did meet The Everly Brothers once and we talked for awhile. Then we figured out we were first cousins! My late mother was the sister of [Don Everly and Phil Everly]'s father, Ike Everly. Hide
[on Sorrell Booke] Scenes with Boss Hogg were 90% ad-libbed. He was such a professional. [on Sorrell Booke] Scenes with Boss Hogg were 90% ad-libbed. He was such a professional.
I started painting when I was in high school. I started painting when I was in high school.
[on his favorite The Dukes of Hazzard (1979) episode] What I really enjoyed was the episode where Ro Show more [on his favorite The Dukes of Hazzard (1979) episode] What I really enjoyed was the episode where Rosco thinks he inherits a million dollars and makes Boss Hogg his deputy. That was a fun, fun show. And then the other show that I enjoyed, I got to play a dual role, where I play a guy who actually has his face built like Rosco and he's trying to imitate Rosco. So I actually play Rosco two different ways. That one was fun. But I'll be very honest with you. Almost every show that I worked, it was a blessing. I worked, of course, mostly with Boss Hogg. Sorrell Booke [Boss Hogg] spoke five languages. He was a brilliant actor, and he let me ad lib all over the place, and he would go along with it. Hide
[in 2010, about his painting] I do mostly Southern landscapes. I do beautiful old barns that are fal Show more [in 2010, about his painting] I do mostly Southern landscapes. I do beautiful old barns that are falling down, and beautiful trees reflecting in the water. My lovely wife Dorothy and I travel quite a bit, so I take pictures of different things that inspire me to come home, when I come home here in North Carolina, into my art studio and paint these things. I put them on my web page and I'm proud to say that I'm selling paintings all over the world now. Some of them are commissioned. But I try to price my paintings in such a way that the average person can afford them. They make good Christmas gifts. It's a wonderful pastime for me, and it's been very profitable. Hide
[In 2014]: I've done 87 feature pictures and I've done over 600 television shows. I worked with Jimm Show more [In 2014]: I've done 87 feature pictures and I've done over 600 television shows. I worked with Jimmy Stewart. I worked with Henry Fonda. I worked, you know, Humphrey Bogart, you know? You name them, I've worked with them. And it's really marvelous to have done this during my span, and I haven't finished! Lately, I've made 4 or 5 movies with my daughter and her husband at Hallmark. My daughter writes the scripts, so she is a terrific producer-writer, and her husband is a very good director, so they keep this old man busy. We live in North Carolina now, and we are going to be performing in On Golden Pond here in about 2-2 and a half weeks, and we're very excited about that. It's funny--my wife is playing my daughter! Hide
James Best's FILMOGRAPHY
as Actor (64)
Gomovies