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Clifton James, Sheriff in James Bond Films, Dies at 96

Variety logo Variety 4/15/2017 Lawrence Yee
© Provided by Variety

Clifton James, a veteran actor who appeared as Sheriff J.W. Pepper in two James Bond films, died Saturday morning at age 96.

James died just blocks away from his childhood home, surrounded by friends and family, loved ones told Variety in a statement.

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.

According to relatives, he fought for five years on the front lines of the South Pacific, earning two Purple Hearts and a Silver Star for his service during World War II.

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.”

James most famous role came on film. He appeared in two James Bond films opposite Roger Moore: “Live and Let Die” (1973) and “The Man with the Golden Gun” (1974). He portrayed the crowing Louisiana sheriff, J.W. Pepper (pictured). James would play similar Southern lawman in numerous other roles during his career, including “Silver Streak” and “Superman II”

Among his other film credits included “Cool Hand Luke,” “Eight Men Out” and “The Bonfire of the Vanities.”

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.

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