Blustery, stocky, loud although often genial character actor who has created a niche for himself playing often frustrated and fast talking Southern characters… most noticeably as Sheriff J.W. Pepper alongside Roger Moore in the James Bond adventures Live and Let Die (1973) and The Man with the Golden Gun (1974).
He may have perfected a Southern drawl, however Clifton James was actually born on May 29, 1921 in Spokane, Washington. A graduate of the Actors Studio, he regularly appeared in guest roles on television series, including Gunsmoke (1955), Bonanza (1959) and The Virginian (1962). He was also busy in the cinema with minor roles in classy productions, such as Cool Hand Luke (1967), Will Penny (1967) and The New Centurions (1972). After his 007 escapades, James remained busy putting in a great dramatic performance in The Deadly Tower (1975), played another loud-mouthed Sheriff in the action comedy Silver Streak (1976) and was superb as team owner Charles Comiskey in the dramatization of the 1919 Chicago White Sox scandal, Eight Men Out (1988).
His other roles include that of a wealthy Montana baron whose cattle are being rustled in Rancho Deluxe (1975), and as the source who tips off a newspaper reporter (Bruce Willis) to a potentially explosive story in The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990). He had been quieter in his later years, but showed he could still contribute an enjoyable performance in the wonderful John Sayles movie Sunshine State (2002). James died at age 96 from complications of diabetes at his home in Gladstone, Oregon on April 15, 2017.
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