James Best, the actor ideal known because that his function as Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane in "The Dukes the Hazzard," passed away Monday.

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James Best, an actor ideal known because that his portrayal of bumbling Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane ~ above the hit TV collection "The Dukes the Hazzard," died Monday night, his wife shown to NBC News.

Best, 88, had actually spent his final days in a Hickory, phibìc Carolina hospice, whereby he yielded to complications related to pneumonia, according to his wife, Dorothy finest Collier.

Born in Kentucky in 1926, best learned exhilaration in the Army, and moved come Hollywood in the 1950s, whereby he showed up in dozens of war pictures, Westerns and comedies over a career that spanned seven decades. But his most famed character to be Coltrane, the ornery lawman who appeared to carry out nothing yet chase Bo and Luke fight it out — and also their orange 1969 evade Charger — about fictional Hazzard County, Georgia.

"Roscoe to be his defining character, but he had actually such a beautiful and also wonderful and substantial career," Collier said.

Best took on that character after summary leaving Hollywood to teach acting in the 1970s, according to an obituary posted on Best"s website by a friend and also authorized by his family. The role came come him in 1979, once CBS arisen a mid-season replacement collection about a pair of daronger cousins that outwit and also outrun a corrupt county commissioner, boss Hogg, and also his Keystone Cop-like police force. Best"s Coltrane, regularly accompanied by a lethargic basset hound called Flash, ended up being of the show"s most popular characters.

"The Dukes the Hazzard" to be a huge hit, running till 1985. ~ the display wrapped, finest kept exhilaration in other projects.

But he ongoing to take on Sheriff Coltrane, reprising the character for a pair the reunion movies and also in a video game based upon the show.

“I plot the part as an excellent as i could,” best once called The Charlotte Observer. “Rosco — let’s face it — to be a charmer. It to be a fun thing.”

James ideal attends the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel's "2013 Winter TCA" press Gala at The Huntington Library and also Gardens on January 4, 2013 in san Marino, California.Jason Kempin / Getty Images

He likewise wrote, produced and also directed other projects, and also acted on stage. He produced a 2012 sequel come the 1959 cult fear movie "The Killer Shrews," in which he had actually starred. His critical completed film to be "The Sweeter side of Life," a 2013 movie because that the Hallmark Channel.

At the time of his death, the was working on a film around World war II veterans, his digital obituary said.

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In enhancement to Collier, best is endured by a son, Gary Allen Best, daughters JoJami ideal Tyler and also Janeen Damian and also their families, consisting of three grandchildren.