Heartbreaking news for fans of legendary TV show Dukes of Hazzard: James Best died on Monday, April 6. According to TMZ, Best — who is most commonly known for playing Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane on the show — was in hospice care at the time, having suffered from illness and complications from pneumonia. He was 88.
In an obituary posted on Best's website, many of his Dukes co-stars released statements about his death and their favorite memories of him, including Tom Wopat (who played Luke Duke), who described him as "a fine actor, director, and mentor, and an even better friend." John Schneider, who played Bo Duke, also contributed a sweet statement about what working with Best and learning from his talent meant to him:
Jimmie Best — of course, I laughed. But I learned more about acting in front of a camera from Jimmie Best in an afternoon than from anyone else in a year. When asked to cry on camera, he would say, "Sure thing... which eye?" I’m forever thankful to have cut my teeth in the company of such a fine man.
Although Best's most memorable role was obviously on Dukes, he also starred in many other TV shows and movies — including other TV classics like Gunsmoke and Bonanza, spanning a career that lasted over 50 years.