HICKORY, N.C., April 6, 2015—James Best, the actor best known for his portrayal of bumbling yet endearing Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane on TV’s “The Dukes of Hazzard,” died at 9:28 p.m. ET Monday after a brief illness and complications of pneumonia. He was 88.
The youngest of eight brothers and a sister, James was born Jewel Franklin Guy in hardscrabble Powderly, Ky., on July 26, 1926, to parents Lena Mae Everly Guy (sister of Ike Everly, who was father of musical legends Don and Phil) and Larkin Jasper Guy. After spending a short time in an orphanage following his mother’s death in 1929, the young boy was adopted by Essa and Armen Best and moved with them to their home in Corydon, Ind.