JAMES BEST. 1926 – 2015

Sad news to hear of the death of James Best whom I always associate with one of my favorite westerns, RIDE LONESOME (1959)

James was probably best known for his starring role in TV’s THE DUKES OF HAZZARD, but I remember him from his films in the 1950’s.

James joined Universal in 1949 and can be seen briefly in WINCHESTER 73 (along with Tony Curtis).


Tony Curtis, Jay C. Flippen, James Best. WINCHESTER 73

J Tony Curtis, Jay C. Flippen, James Best. WINCHESTER 73

James was also seen in THE CAINE MUTINY(1954) and FORBIDDEN  PLANET(1956).

The Caine Mutiny

The Caine Mutiny


James had small parts in two Ann Sheridan films in the 50s – STEEL TOWN (1952) and COME NEXT SPRING (1956)

Ann Sheridan,John Lund, James Best. STEEL TOWN

Ann Sheridan,John Lund, James Best. STEEL TOWN


James was at home in westerns and he was one of the central characters in RIDE LONESOME, and his ten years of acting experience produced a very good performance alongside Randolph Scott.

Randolph Scott,James Best.RIDE LONESOME

Randolph Scott,James Best.RIDE LONESOME

Ride Lonesome

Ride Lonesome


James   spent more time on television than in films from the early 50s onwards. He must hold some kind of record for the sheer number of TV shows that he appeared in. And of course he had great success as one of the stars of popular show, The Dukes of Hazzard.

James  also spent many years teaching acting, and in 2009 his autobiography was published.








6 responses »

  1. It’s good to know that James had a long and successful career.
    Not sure if I’m ready for The Killer Shrews!
    Glad to hear you rate Ride Lonesome so highly, Thom.

  2. Vienna! I never understood why the Jerry Lewis film, “Three on a Couch,” made in 1966, had the credit, “Introducing James Best”, when Best started making movies in 1950 and had a few dozen films under his belt when “Couch” was released. How strange is Hollywood?

  3. Think I’ve found the solution. On the Comet Over Hollywood blog, James was interviewed in 2014 and said he asked Jerry Lewis that same question. (jerry was the producer/director as well as star of Three on a Couch), Jerry said he was introducing James to comedy!

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