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Florida actor James Best will receive the Florida Motion Picture and Television Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the association’s 19th Annual Crystal Reel Awards Gala on August 23 at Plant City’s Red Rose Inn & Suites.

Best was born in Kentucky and grew up in Indiana. While he is widely known for his portrayal of Roscoe P. Coltrane in the long running “Dukes of Hazzard” television series, he’s been acting professionally since he was cast in a European tour of “My Sister Eileen” immediately after World War II. The play was produced and directed by Arthur Penn who would later go on to direct Best in “Left Handed Gun” with Paul Newman. At the end of the tour, Best returned to New York for further stage work.

Since then, he has appeared in hundreds of films, television and stage productions. His first “credited” film was 1950’s “Comanche Territory” in which he played “Sam.” His film credits also include, five films with Jimmy Stewart; “The Cain Mutiny”, with Humphrey Bogart; five westerns with Audie Murphy; “Ride Lonesome” with Randolph Scott; “Firecreek” with Henry Fonda and Jimmy Stewart; and Norman Mailer's classic, “The Naked and the Dead”, “Three on a Couch” with Jerry Lewis; Sammy Fuller's classic “Shock Corridor” and “Verboten”, “Cimarron Kid”, “First to Fight”, “Seminole” with Rock Hudson and Anthony Quinn: multiple Academy Award nominee “Sounder” and three films with Burt Reynolds, including “Gator” on which he served as Associate Producer and script writer. Also, “The End” which he also helped write and he directed while Reynolds was on camera, and “Hooper” in which he co-starred and did the re-writes on the script.

He and his wife Dorothy moved to Florida in 1987, and he taught on campus at the University of Central Florida. He was also appointed to the Advisory Council for the Motion Picture, Television, and Recording Industry of Florida He picked up his own Crystal Reel award in 1992 for Best Actor in a Dramatic Series, for an episode of “In the Heat of the Night” with Carroll O'Connor.

The Crystal Reel Awards annually recognizes Florida films and filmmakers at a dinner and awards program. This year’s event will be emceed by Tampa area writer and television personality Bill Murphy.

For details and reservations, contact chairman Jerry Alan at 813-334-1535.

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