MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (1/18/12) - When actor James Best, who played the role of Rosco P. Coltraine in the Dukes of Hazzard, left the hills of Western Kentucky for the Hollywood hills, his first role was an unaccredited appearance in the James Mason film "One Way Street", in which another young actor named Rock Hudson also appeared, also without credit. Decades later, it seems James Best is finally getting credit where it's due.
Earlier this week, Surfky.com news announced that Western Kentucky native James Best of Powderly, will star in "The Sweeter Side of Life”, a major Hallmark Movie Channel release set to premiere this Saturday at 8:00 PM CST. It co-stars Kathryn Morris of the hit show, "Cold Case" as Best's daughter.
Surfky.com news now presents our exclusive interview with Mr. Best about his return to the screen, and what else is on the 86-year-old actor’s mind.
"You know, my daughter Janeen Damian wrote 'The Sweeter Side of Life', and her husband Michael Damian directed it,” said Best. “Michael played Danny on the daytime drama 'The Young and The Restless' for 18 years, and Janeen co-wrote the script. Janeen is widely respected in Hollywood as an actress, writer, composer, producer, and was even a stunt performer in the blockbuster "Basic Instinct".
Best went on to state that, "This is about the fourth movie I've made with Hallmark. We filmed it in Romania. It was very exciting. I got to work with Kathryn Morris. She's not only beautiful, but one of the finest actresses I've ever worked with. My daughter writes wonderful dialog. I didn't have to ad lib like I did on 'The Dukes of Hazzard'."
Best told reporters that he enjoys making movies with his family, for families.
"I was getting tired of what was coming out of Hollywood,” he said. “All the dirty language and excessive violence. Hallmark is part of a new wave that I'm proud to be included in. They really try to produce family-oriented movies. I went to Hollywood a few weeks ago and met with Hallmark executives, and they were very pleased with my performance. I told them I'd love to do more and they assured me that would happen. So maybe I've got a new career going here," the 86-year-old laughed... adding "Heck, my body's ok, I think I just need a head transplant! I loved doing "Dukes of Hazzard, which ran for years all over the world. But a lot of people still don't realize I was a serious actor before, and I don't have be the bumbling Rosco, yelling 'KEE! KEE! KEE!'....even though I really do love it."
Switching gears, Best says, of the hundreds of TV shows he appeared on, he really enjoyed being on the Emmy winning sci-fi classic, 'The Twilight Zone'.
"I starred on three 'Twilight Zones', including 'The Grave' with Lee Marvin < www.youtube.com/watch?v=yScuVGZ9xZQ > , another called 'Jesse Belle', and 'The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank', where I'm dead for three days, put in the coffin, and then come back to life," Best said with a cackle, making one wonder if he might not enjoy continuing his career in a vampire movie or two.
Best says he also enjoyed appearing on one of the most bizarre, horrific episodes ever of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents".
"Yeah, it was called 'The Jar', with Pat Buttram. That casting was a big switch for him too, because Pat was best known as the sidekick to Gene Autry in his westerns."
Best seems proud to reminisce about his achievements on the big screen.
"I made five movies with Jimmy Stewart, I starred with Humphey Bogart... heck I worked with just about everyone in Hollywood up to doing 'The Dukes'. I loved working with Jerry Lewis in 'Three on a Couch'. We had a ball. Working with Jerry is a blessing in disguise. He does it all. Acts, produces, he is a total professional."
When Best is not acting he still tours with his one man show across the nation, which features excerpts from his career. He says he'd love to return home.
"I just love Kentucky. The whole cast of "Dukes" came back there a few years back. We raised over a million and a half dollars for injured miners, and the families of miners who had been killed."
As surfky.com finished our phone interview with Mr. Best from his North Carolina home, he just couldn't say "Goodbye". Instead, he gave us a rare treat by yelling 'This is Rosco P. Coltrane saying 'Keep your petal to the metal, I'm gone! KEE! KEE!'
Most likely he's gone off to make another great movie!
Keep up with James Best on his web site, www.jamesbest.com.
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