Sorrell Booke

Sorrell Booke (January 4, 1930 – February 11, 1994) was an American actor who performed on stage, screen, and television. He is best known for his role as corrupt politician Jefferson Davis "Boss" Hogg in the television show The Dukes of Hazzard.[1]

Sorrell Booke
Sorrell Booke in an acting headshot photo
1974 publicity photo
BornJanuary 4, 1930
DiedFebruary 11, 1994 (aged 64)
Sherman Oaks, California, U.S.
Resting placeHillside Memorial Park Cemetery
EducationColumbia University (BA)
Yale University (MFA)
Years active1952–1994
Spouse(s)Miranda Knickerbocker (1958–1973; divorced)
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Battles/warsKorean War

Early life and education

Booke was born in Buffalo, New York, a cousin of Woodstock farmer Max Yasgur. He attended Bennett High School in Buffalo and was valedictorian of his class of 1948. Growing up, Booke was known for his impersonations and appeared regularly as an actor on local radio stations WGR and WEBR.[2] He later earned degrees from both Columbia and Yale universities. He served in the United States Army during the Korean War as a counterintelligence officer.[1]


Booke came to Hollywood via a theatre degree from Yale University and a decade on the New York Stage. One prominent early role was that of Senator Billboard T. Rawkins in the 1960 revival of Finian's Rainbow, a role foreshadowing his most famous character, that of Boss Hogg in The Dukes of Hazzard. During his early Hollywood acting career, Booke gained acclaim for notable supporting parts in noteworthy 1960s films such as Black Like Me, A Fine Madness, and Fail-Safe. In 1962, he was in Fiorello! and starred as the namesake's character.

In 1965, he guest starred as Sgt. Herschel Aronson in episode 19 "Faith, Hope, and Sergeant Aronson" of ABC's 12 O-Clock High military drama. He soon began focusing primarily on television roles in the 1970s and 1980s, and voice acting roles in the 1980s and early 1990s. Booke also once conducted the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Booke earned an Emmy nomination for his appearance in Dr. Kildare in the episode "What's God to Julius?". He appeared in an episode of Mission: Impossible from the first season in 1966. Booke appeared in two early episodes of M*A*S*H, as General Barker in "Requiem for a Lightweight" and "Chief Surgeon Who?"; the latter marked the debut of the character Corporal Klinger, with whom Booke's character had previously dealt.

He also had a recurring role in All in the Family as Mr. Sanders, personnel manager at Archie Bunker's workplace, Prendergast Tool and Die Company. (He had previously appeared on All in the Family as Lyle Bennett, the manager of a local television station.) Booke was featured on an episode of Good Times, and had a recurring role as the Jewish mob boss "Lefkowitz" on Soap.

The Dukes of Hazzard (1979–1985)

Booke's most notable role was in The Dukes of Hazzard as the humorously wicked antagonist to Bo and Luke Duke. The series ran on CBS for seven seasons, from 1979 to 1985 and spawned an animated series, The Dukes (1983), two reunion TV specials (by which time Booke had died, and the character of Boss Hogg was also said to be deceased), a feature film (2005) and The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning (a 2007 TV movie).

Booke had stopped appearing physically in acting roles, but he continued to perform voice work on several television shows and movies, occasionally as narrator, and sometimes as a cartoon character's voice, in such movies as Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers (1987 TV movie), Gravedale High (1990 television series), and Rock-A-Doodle (1991).

Personal life

Booke was married to Miranda Knickerbocker (the daughter of Hubert Renfro Knickerbocker) from 1958 to 1973. They had two children, Alexandra and Nicholas. Booke has a brother, Fred.


On February 11, 1994, Booke died of colorectal cancer in Sherman Oaks, California. He is interred at the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California. His tombstone reads, "Beloved Pa, Grandpa, Brother and Boss."

Partial filmography

Television work

Stage appearances


  1. ^ a b Collins, Glenn (February 15, 1994). "Sorrell Booke, A TV Actor, 64; Was Boss Hogg". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 13, 2013. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  2. ^ Cichon, Steve (March 22, 2019). "The curious acquaintance of John Otto and Boss Hogg". The Buffalo News. Retrieved March 22, 2019.

External links

A Fine Madness

A Fine Madness is a 1966 American Technicolor comedy film based on the 1964 novel by Elliott Baker that tells the story of Samson Shillitoe, a frustrated poet unable to finish a grand tome. It stars Sean Connery (in the midst of his James Bond roles), Joanne Woodward, Jean Seberg, Patrick O'Neal, and Clive Revill. It was directed by Irvin Kershner.

Bank Shot

Bank Shot is a 1974 film directed by Gower Champion and written by Wendell Mayes. It was loosely based upon Donald E. Westlake's novel of the same name, which was the second book of his Dortmunder series. The film stars George C. Scott, Joanna Cassidy, Sorrell Booke, and G. Wood.

Black Like Me (film)

Black Like Me (1964) is an American drama film based on the book Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin. The journalist disguised himself to pass as an African-American man for six weeks in 1959 in the Deep South to report on life in the segregated society from the other side of the color line. The film was directed by Carl Lerner and the screenplay was written by Carl and Gerda Lerner. The film stars James Whitmore, Sorrell Booke and Roscoe Lee Browne.

The DVD was released December 11, 2012 in North America from Video Services Corp. The DVD includes a documentary titled Uncommon Vision about John Howard Griffin, the journalist on which the main character is based.

Boss Hogg

Jefferson Davis 'J.D.' Hogg, known as Boss Hogg, is a fictional character featured in the American television series The Dukes of Hazzard. He was the greedy, unethical commissioner of Hazzard County. A stereotypical villainous glutton, Boss Hogg almost always wore an all-white suit with a white cowboy hat and regularly smoked cigars. His namesake is Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States of America. Boss Hogg is one of only two characters to appear in every episode of the TV series, the other being Uncle Jesse Duke. The role of Boss Hogg was played by Sorrell Booke, who performed frequently on radio, stage, and film prior to his role in The Dukes of Hazzard.

Brenda Starr (1976 film)

Brenda Starr is a 1976 American made-for-television adventure film based on Dale Messick's comic strip Brenda Starr, Reporter starring Jill St. John in the title role. It is directed by Mel Stuart and originally aired on ABC on May 8, 1976.

Fail Safe (1964 film)

Fail Safe is a 1964 Cold War thriller film directed by Sidney Lumet, based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler. It portrays a fictional account of a nuclear crisis. The film features performances by actors Henry Fonda, Dan O'Herlihy, Walter Matthau and Frank Overton. Larry Hagman, Fritz Weaver, Dom DeLuise and Sorrell Booke appeared in early film roles.

Fail Safe describes how Cold War tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States lead to an accidental thermonuclear first strike after an error sends a group of US bombers to bomb Moscow.

In 2000, the novel was adapted again as a televised play, starring George Clooney, Richard Dreyfuss and Noah Wyle, and broadcast live in black and white on CBS.

Freaky Friday (1976 film)

Freaky Friday is a 1976 American fantasy-comedy film directed by Gary Nelson, with the screenplay written by Mary Rodgers based on her 1972 novel of the same name. The film stars Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster in the lead roles. John Astin, Patsy Kelly, Dick Van Patten and Sorrell Booke are featured in supporting roles. In the film, a mother and her daughter switch their bodies, and they get a taste of each other's lives. The cause of the switch is left unexplained in this film, but occurs on Friday the 13th, when Ellen and Annabel, in different places, say about each other at the same time, "I wish I could switch places with her for just one day." Rodgers added a water skiing subplot to her screenplay.

Freaky Friday was released theatrically in the United States on December 17, 1976, by Buena Vista Distribution. The film received positive reviews from critics with major praise drawn towards Foster and Harris’ performances and was a box office success, grossing $26 million on a $5 million budget. At the 34th Golden Globe Awards, it received three nominations: Best Actress – Comedy or Musical (for both Foster and Harris), and Best Original Song ("I'd Like to Be You for a Day").

Gone Are the Days!

Gone Are the Days! is a 1963 American comedy-drama film starring Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee and Godfrey Cambridge. It is based on the Broadway play Purlie Victorious, which was written by Davis. Davis, Dee, Cambridge, Beah Richards, Alan Alda and Sorrell Booke reprised their roles from the play. This was also Alda's film debut.


Peopletoys (also known as Devil Times Five and The Horrible House on the Hill, as well as Tantrums in the United Kingdom) is a 1974 American horror film directed by Sean MacGregor and an uncredited David Sheldon. The movie stars Sorrell Booke, Gene Evans, Shelley Morrison, and Leif Garrett, along with Leif's real-life sister Dawn Lyn and their real-life mother Carolyn Stellar. The film follows a group of sociopathic, homicidal children who survive a car accident in the mountains; the murderous fivesome seek refuge in a rural chalet inhabited by several vacationing adults.


Purlie is a musical with a book by Ossie Davis, Philip Rose, and Peter Udell, lyrics by Udell, and music by Gary Geld. It is based on Davis's 1961 play Purlie Victorious, which was later made into the 1963 film Gone Are the Days! and which included many of the original Broadway cast, including Davis, Ruby Dee, Alan Alda, Beah Richards, Godfrey Cambridge, and Sorrell Booke.

Record City

Record City is a 1978 American comedy film starring Ed Begley Jr., Sorrell Brooke, Michael Callan, Jack Carter, Frank Gorshin, Ruth Buzzi and Dennis Bowen.

Requiem for a Lightweight

"Requiem for a Lightweight" is the third episode of the television series M*A*S*H. It was first aired on October 1, 1972 and was repeated on December 31, 1972, the first episode of M*A*S*H to do so. In Watching M*A*S*H, Watching America, a sociological examination of M*A*S*H as an illustration of shifting American values in the 1970s and early 1980s, James H. Wittebols cites this episode as an example of the sexual humor which was common in early M*A*S*H episodes, but downplayed later in the program's history.A new nurse named Margie Cutler arrives at the 4077. Realizing Cutler is an incredible distraction for Pierce and McIntyre, Major Houlihan has her transferred to another unit. Hawkeye and Trapper, desperate to get her back, agree to have Trapper fight in a boxing tournament. To secure victory, Ugly John has the boxing gloves coated in ether, but Burns and Houlihan, thinking it's unethical, fight with Hawkeye to keep it fair.

Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers

Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers is a 1987 animated made-for-television film produced by Hanna-Barbera for syndication as part of the Hanna-Barbera Superstars 10 series.

Special Delivery (1976 film)

Special Delivery is a 1976 American comedy crime film directed by Paul Wendkos and starring Bo Svenson and Cybill Shepherd.

The Borgia Stick

The Borgia Stick is a 1967 American made-for-television crime drama film starring Don Murray and Inger Stevens. It featured Fritz Weaver, Barry Nelson, Barnard Hughes, Conrad Bain, and Sorrell Booke in supporting roles, and was directed by David Lowell Rich. Shot in New York City, the film was one of the highest-rated events of the 1966–1967 season. The film was the first-ever made-for-TV movie.The story of a couple trying to break free from a crime syndicate, it was made by Universal Studios.

The Dukes of Hazzard (soundtrack)

The Dukes of Hazzard is the original soundtrack from the television series The Dukes of Hazzard. It should not be confused with the motion picture soundtrack with almost the same name. Released originally in 1981 then re-released in 2005 on compact disc, it includes the theme to the show and one of Schneider's best hits "In the Drivers Seat". Most of the cast performed a song for the soundtrack. Remastered producing by Rob Santos.

The Manchu Eagle Murder Caper Mystery

The Manchu Eagle Murder Caper Mystery is a 1975 comedy-mystery film starring former "Bowery Boys" members Gabriel Dell and Huntz Hall, Jackie Coogan, and Joyce Van Patten. The film is a parody of the 1941 film noir The Maltese Falcon starring Humphrey Bogart. The cast also includes Barbara Harris, Anjanette Comer, Will Geer, Sorrell Booke, Vincent Gardenia, Nita Talbot and Nicholas Colasanto. The film was written by Dell and Dean Hargrove and directed by Hargrove. It was released by United Artists.

The Take (1974 film)

The Take is a 1974 British-American action crime drama film directed by Robert Hartford-Davis and starring Billy Dee Williams, Eddie Albert, Frankie Avalon, Sorrell Booke, Tracy Reed, and Albert Salmi. It is based on the 1970 novel Sir, You Bastard by G. F. Newman. The film was released by Columbia Pictures in May 1974.

Yogi and the Invasion of the Space Bears

Yogi and the Invasion of the Space Bears is a 1988 animated made-for-television film produced by Hanna-Barbera for syndication as part of the Hanna-Barbera Superstars 10 series. This Hanna-Barbera production was the last to feature Daws Butler as the voice of Yogi Bear. Yogi and Boo-Boo go on an out-of-this-world voyage. When they are kidnapped by spacemen they are cloned, and the clone bears soon invade Jellystone Park.

Television films
Remake films
Video games
See also

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