Being a big James Bond fan, I felt compelled to post the sad news that actor Clifton James, best known as Sheriff J. W. Pepper in two 007 films, died yesterday at age 96, due to “complications from diabetes”. There are some Bond lovers who dislike the character of the bungling Pepper in Live And Let Die and The Man With The Golden Gun, considering it a good example of the silliness that personified the Moore era, but I’m not one of them. The cartoonish character made me crack up when I was 8 years old and still makes me crack up now, delivering the absurd lines given to him by screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz with goofy relish.
James played a very similar character in both Silver Streak and Superman II, and a far more serious sheriff in The Reivers, as well as having small but often important roles in a variety of films such as The Untouchables, Eight Men Out, The Bonfire of the Vanities, and several John Sayles films. But it’s as Pepper we’ll remember him.