Ben Best, an actor and writer who penned and co-starred alongside Danny McBride the cult indie pic The Foot Fist Way and later co-created, wrote and appeared with McBride in the HBO comedy series Eastbound & Down, died Sunday. He was 46.
His death was announced by Rough House Pictures, the Eastbound & Down production company run by his frequent collaborators McBride, David Gordon Green and Jody Hill. Best met McBride and Hill in North Carolina at the UNC School of the Arts.
“It’s with heavy hearts we say goodbye to our good buddy Ben Best,” the company posted on its Instagram page today. “We lost him the day before he would have turned 47. A hell of a friend and a creative force. He inspired us and made us laugh. Charming and hilarious. Gone way too soon. We love and miss you.”
In MTV Films’ 2006 comedy The Foot Fist Way, directed by Hill, McBride played a tae kwon do instructor who has an unhealthy obsession with fellow martial arts enthusiast Chuck “The Truck” Wallace, played by Best. Best also penned the 2011 period fantasy comedy Your Highness, which starred McBride, James Franco and Natalie Portman. Green directed that pic.
Best co-created and and wrote several episodes of Eastbound & Down, which ran for four seasons on HBO from 2009-2013. McBride starred as Kenny Powers, a past-his-prime pro baseball pitcher with a bad attitude and even worse behavior who is forced to return to his North Carolina hometown and take a job as a high school gym teacher while he plots his return to the big leagues. Best co-starred as Clegg, Powers’ old party buddy who hadn’t changed much when Powers returned.
As an actor, Best’s credits also included Superbad, What Happens in Vegas, Observe and Report and Land of the Lost.
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