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Full list by date of death

James Best


Born - 26 July 1926, Powderly, Kentucky, USA
Died - 6 April 2015

One of the last male survivors of the young actors groomed to be stars by Universal-International in the 1950s, but one of the few that didn't make star billing, Best (born Jules Guy) was a tall, taciturn, surly-looking actor with a shock of dark, wavy hair. Universal signed him to a five-year contract and worked him hard: I Was a Shoplifter (1949), Peggy (1950), Winchester 73 (1950), Kansas Raiders (1950), Target Unknown (1951), Jet Men of the Air (1951), The Cimarron Kid (1952), The Battle at Apache Pass (1952), Seminole (1953), Column South (1953) and several more. Freelancing, he made The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), They Rode West (1954), The Caine Mutiny (1954), The Raid (1954), Come Next Spring (1955), Gaby (1956), Forbidden Planet (1956), The Rack (1956), Last of the Badmen (1957), The Left Handed Gun (1958), The Naked and the Dead (1958), the lead in The Killer Shrews (1959), Ride Lonesome (1959), The Mountain Road (1960), Black Gold (1962), Shock Corridor (1963), The Quick Gun (1964), Shenandoah (1965), Firecreek (1968), Sounder (1972), Nickelodeon (1976) and Hooper (1978), before finding a late-career niche as Sheriff Rosco in the long-running Dukes of Hazzard TV series. Later, he made a few more films, among them Raney (1997), Death Mask (1998), Hot Tamale (2006) and, in his old role, Return of the Killer Shrews (2012). He died from pneumonia complications.