We are saddened to report that Clifton James, a veteran actor who appeared as Sheriff J.W. Pepper in two James Bond films has died at the age of 96.
His daughter, Lynn James, said he died Saturday at another daughter’s home in Gladstone, Oregon, due to complications from diabetes.
“He was the most outgoing person, beloved by everybody,” she said. “I don’t think the man had an enemy. We were incredibly blessed to have had him in our lives.”
Clifton was born in 1920, the eldest child of Grace and Harry James, and grew up just outside Portland, Oregon during the heart of the Great Depression, Variety reports.
James was a decorated World War II veteran, United States Army Combat Infantry Platoon Sergeant Co. “A” 163rd Inf., 41st Div. He served forty-two months in the South Pacific, from January 1942 until August 1945. He spent time in Australia, New Guinea, and the Philippines. His decorations include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and two Purple Hearts.
His acting career spanned nearly six decades, and included theater, film, and television. First appearing on stage in “The Time of Your Life,” he would go on to perform in several Broadway shows, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “All The Way Home.”
Among his other film credits included “Cool Hand Luke,” “Eight Men Out” and “The Bonfire of the Vanities.”
James appeared on 13 episodes of the sitcom Lewis & Clark in 1981–1982. Other television credits include the miniseries Captains and the Kings (1976), and two episodes of The A-Team as murderous prison warden Beale in the first-season episode “Pros and Cons” (1983), and as corrupt Sheriff Jake Dawson in the second season’s “The White Ballot” (1983). In 1996, he played the role of “Red Kilgreen” on the ABC daytime drama series, All My Children. James also played the train passenger “Wilkes” on the Gunsmoke episode “Snow Train” (1970).
He also appeared as Sheriff Lester Crabb, a temporary one-off replacement for regular Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane (James Best) in the second season Dukes of Hazzard episode “Treasure of Hazzard” (1980).
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James enjoyed celebrating holidays with his wife Laurie. He is survived by his sisters, Cicely and Beverley; his five children, Cory, Winkie, Hardy, Lynn, and Mary; fourteen grandchildren; and four great grandchildren.
His daughter says that a celebration of her father’s life will be held in Gladstone in August, but there are no other plans so far. She said some of his ashes will likely be spread in the Clackamas River in Oregon, in which he swam as a boy, and in New York Harbor, where some of his wife’s ashes were spread.
Rest in peace brother. Thank you for your service and for the wonderful memories…