Clifton James, an actor who appeared in two James Bond films, died yesterday (April 15) aged 96.
James died nearby his childhood home, surrounded by his friends and family. His relatives revealed in a statement that the actor also fought for five years on the front lines of the South Pacific in World War II.
James first played the hapless tobacco-spitting Louisiana law-enforcer alongside Sir Roger Moore in the 007 film Live and Let Die in 1973.
He was involved in a car chase scene with Bond and was so popular with the audience that producers asked him to return in 1974’s The Man With the Golden Gun.
The second time around his character appeared as a disagreeable American tourist in Thailand.
James’ daughter, Lynn said: “He was the most outgoing person, beloved by everybody.
“I don’t think the man had an enemy. We were incredibly blessed to have had him in our lives.”
Sir Roger paid tribute on Twitter, writing: “Terribly sad to hear Clifton James has left us. As JW Pepper he gave my first two Bond films a great, fun character.”
Terribly sad to hear Clifton James has left us. As JW Pepper he gave my first two Bond films a great, fun character.
— Sir Roger Moore (@sirrogermoore) April 15, 2017
James was born in Spokane in Washington State in 1920.
His family was thrown into poverty during the Great Depression and lost all of their money.
He served as a soldier with the US Army in the South Pacific during the Second World War and was awarded two Purple Hearts, a Silver Star and a Bronze Star.
His family say he lost a lot of friends in the war and never spoke about his service.
At the end of the conflict he took acting classes and went on to appear in hundreds of TV shows and films.
In addition to Bond he also appeared in Cool Hand Luke, Superman II and The Untouchables.
But James was most proud of the work he did on stage, where he often played southern characters.
In later years he divided his time between New York, Oregon and Florida.
He is survived by five children, 14 grand-children and four great-grandchildren.
James’ family said he died at his home in Oregon from complications related to diabetes.