Clifton James, best known for his portrayal of a Southern sheriff in two James Bond films, died on Saturday at the home of one of his daughters in Gladstone, Ore. He was 96.
The cause was complications of diabetes, his daughter Lynn James said.
Though he was born and raised in the Northwest, Mr. James often played a convincing Southerner.
One of his first significant roles as a Southerner was as a cigar-chomping prison floorwalker in the 1967 Paul Newman film “Cool Hand Luke.”
His portrayal of the Louisiana Sheriff J. W. Pepper in the 1973 Bond film “Live and Let Die” in 1973 more than held its own with Roger Moore’s portrayal of Bond.
Mr. James was such a hit that writers created a role for him in the next Bond film, “The Man With the Golden Gun,” in 1974. Mr. James played the same sheriff, this time on vacation in Thailand.
Mr. James appeared often on television, and had recurring roles on “Dallas,” “Gunsmoke” and “Lewis & Clark.” He also played a sheriff on “The Dukes of Hazzard.”
Ms. James said her father met with real Southern sheriffs to prepare for his role in the Bond films.
George Clifton James was born May 29, 1920, in Spokane, Wash. The family later moved to Gladstone, just outside Portland, Ore.
In the 1930s, Mr. James got work with the Civilian Conservation Corps and served in the Army in World War II, receiving two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star.
After the war, Mr. James took classes at the University of Oregon and acted in plays. Inspired, he moved to New York and began his acting career.
Mr. James’s wife, Laurie, died in 2015. He is survived by two sisters, five children, 14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.