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You’ve seen him before, we all have. He has appeared in more than 600 television shows including Bonanza. He was Page in The Legacy, Carl Regan in The Fugitive and the sheriff in The Price of Salt. He’s James Best.
GuestCap by Cal The Price of Salt
He’s also made 83 feature films working with other A-list actors like Jimmy Stewart, Humphrey Bogart, Audie Murphy and one of my favorites, Ride Lonesome with Randolph Scott. James Best has had multiple Academy Award nominations.
GuestCap by Cal Ride Lonesome
Born Jules 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 Best and raised him in Corydon, Indiana. Like many of his generation, James went to war soon after high school graduation. His first professional stage experience came after WW II in a European tour of My Sister Eileen which was produced and directed by Arthur Penn. Penn would later go on to direct Best in Left Handed Gun with Paul Newman.
GuestCap by Cal Left Handed Gun
He’s produced and written and starred on the stage as well. Best's friendship with Burt Reynold's led to appearances at a dinner Theatre in Jupiter, Florida. He directed and starred in Goodbye Charlie with Luci Arnez, starred in the Reynold's directed Bus Stop with Sally Field and Robert Urich and then directed The Fantastick's. He starred with Burt Reynolds in Hooper along with Sally Field and Brian Keith.
GuestCap by Cal Hooper
James Best married Jobee Ayers, in 1959. They had two daughters, Janeen and Jojami. They divorced in 1977. Best also has a son, Gary. He married his current wife, Dorothy Best, in 1986. Best returned to California in the 80s. He signed with Warner Brothers to do his first regular TV series, The Dukes of Hazzard.
GuestCap by Cal Rosco P. Coltrane in Dukes of Hazzard
In the early 1970s Best decided become an artist-in-residence at the University of Mississippi. During his two years there, he taught Motion Picture Technique and Drama, directed four plays, established the Mississippi Film Commission and was elected to the University's Hall of Fame. He continued teaching, both in Hollywood and later in Florida at the University of Central Florida. Now semi-retired, he makes personal appearances and exhibits his paintings. Most recently James Best visited some of our returning troops at the hospital at Ft. Benjamin Harrison.
GuestCap by Cal Veterans
JamesBest.com is a good place to find out more about James Best. He has also posted some of his artwork there.
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