||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification, as it includes attribution to IMDb. (April 2011)|
May 29, 1921 |
Spokane, Washington, United States
|Spouse(s)||Laurie Harper (1951— ); 6 children|
Clifton James (born May 29, 1921) is an American actor, best known for his roles as Sheriff J.W. Pepper alongside Roger Moore in the James Bond films Live and Let Die (1973) and The Man With The Golden Gun (1974) and as the floor walker prison guard in Cool Hand Luke (1967).
Born George Clifton James in Spokane, Washington, his parents were Grace (née Dean), a teacher, and Harry James, a journalist. James is a decorated World War II veteran, U.S. 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: Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Infantry Badge and six battle stars.
James became well known for playing the comic-relief role of Louisiana Sheriff J. W. Pepper in the James Bond films Live and Let Die (1973) and The Man with the Golden Gun (1974). He also played a very similar character in both Superman II and Silver Streak, and a more serious sheriff in The Reivers.
James was the district attorney who prosecutes Al Capone in the 1987 film The Untouchables. He played a Navy Master at Arms in 1973's The Last Detail starring Jack Nicholson and baseball team owner Charles Comiskey in the 1988 true story Eight Men Out, a drama about the corrupt 1919 Chicago White Sox.
Despite being a lifelong New Yorker (and an Actors Studio member of long standing), James has been cast as a Southerner in many of his roles, like his appearances in the James Bond films, and also powerful Houston lawyer Striker Bellman in the daytime soap opera Texas from 1981–82.
He was a Southern character as the penitentiary's floor-walker in the Paul Newman film Cool Hand Luke, and again 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). In the 1969 film The Reivers, opposite Steve McQueen, James played a mean, corrupt bungling country sheriff, a basic warmup for his more lovable Sheriff J. W. Pepper in Live and Let Die.
James appeared on 13 episodes of the sitcom Lewis & Clark in 1981–82. Other television credits include 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.
His other film roles include that of a wealthy Montana land baron whose cattle are being rustled in 1975's Rancho Deluxe and as the source who tips off newspaperman Bruce Willis to a potentially explosive story in The Bonfire of the Vanities. James has been featured a number of times by writer-director John Sayles, most recently in Lone Star (1996) and Sunshine State (2002).
He resides in New York City with his wife of more than 60 years. He has six children, fourteen grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
- Clifton James at the Internet Movie Database
- Clifton James at the Internet Broadway Database
- Clifton James at the University of Wisconsin's Actors Studio audio collection
- Clips from Texas episodes