According to Deadline, character actor Clifton James passed away on April 15, 2017 at the age of 96.
Among many different film and television roles, he is probably known most by James Bond fans for his foul-mouthed, offensive, tobacco-chewing, goofball, southern Sheriff J.W. Pepper of the Louisiana State Police, reminiscent of Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason) in the American film classic, Smokey and the Bandit (1977). Clifton James appeared in two of the James Bond films (the eighth and ninth entries in the overall 007 saga), specifically the first two Roger Moore outings: Live and Let Die (1973), which also starred Yapheto Kotto and Jane Seymour, and The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), which also starred Britt Ekland and the late Christopher Lee. While we still live in a time where all of the actors who officially portrayed Bond himself are still alive, along with most of the villains and most if not all of the Bond girls, Clifton James was one of the last surviving Bond "regulars," so to speak, of the Roger Moore era.
Clifton James' other notable credits include The Untouchables (1987), The Iceman Cometh (1973), and the typecasted sheriff alongside Christopher Reeve in Superman II (1980). Television appearances included Texas (1980-82), The A-Team (1983-87), Gunsmoke (1955-75), Dallas (1978-91), and a sheriff again in The Dukes of Hazzard (1979-85).
According to the Internet Movie Database, Clifton James had one more film to be released this year, after an eleven year absence from the theater or television screens. He would have been playing a character named Bill Wilder in Old Soldiers (2017). While it is still possible and hopeful that James already filmed his scenes, the project is unfortunately listed as being in pre-production. The release date is not confirmed however, so we'll have to wait and see.
Check out the hilarious, action-packed car chase through the streets of Bangkok with JW at Bond's (Roger Moore) side from The Man With the Golden Gun in the clip below, and see if you recognize some of this guy's work.
"NOBODY cuts and runs on Sheriff J.W. PEPPER! And it's him who's speakin'... by the by!"