Screenwriter Ben Best, known as the co-creator and star of Eastbound & Down, has died at the age of 46. Having created the series with Danny McBride and Jody Hill, Best wrote the first three episodes of the series and also appeared in eight episodes of the show as Clegg. The news of the writer’s death was shared on Instagram by Rough House Pictures, the production company which is owned by McBride and Hill, but no cause of death has been revealed.
In post read, “It’s with heavy hearts we say goodbye to our good buddy Ben Best. 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.”
As well as his work as a writer, Best starred in a number of movies through the 2000s, including Land of the Lost, Superbad, What Happens In Vegas and The Foot Fist Way. Although McBride and Hill continued to collaborate on a number of projects, Best’s last work was on Eastbound & Down in 2013, and he had involvement in no further projects.
Eastbound & Down was a sports comedy which starred Danny McBride as a former professional baseball pitcher who makes a return to his hometown and becomes a substitute physical education teacher in his former middle-school in Shelby, North Carolina after a number of ups and downs in his career. The series was procused by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay and ran for four seasons between 2009 and 2013. Best made appearances as Clegg in both the first and second seasons, and while he was writer on the first season, he had no further participation in the show after the second season other than as executive producer and his credit as co-creator.
Having the same team of Best, McBride and Hill, the feature film The Foot Fist Way in 2006 was Best’s most known starring role, appearing as Chuck “The Truck” Wallace, a B-movie action hero. At the time, Best was part of the music band Pyramid, and provided the songs that featured in the movie through them as well as having the band members play Chuck’s friends in a party scene in the movie. Taking over $245,000 at the box office from its $80,000 budget, the movie was by no means a flop, but it received very mixed reviews. The general consensus on the film was that “the rough edges and biting humor of this martial arts comedy will keep audiences laughing and cringing in turns.”
The Instagram post gathered a number of comments from fans of Best, all offering their sympathy and remembering the star. User tonycavalero wrote, “So sorry to hear. Praying for his family and friends.” Armirchou added, “Aw man I loved him as Chuck The Truck. Man, one of a kind. Rest in Peace.” Luchafur said what many seemed to be thinking, commenting, “This is so heartbreaking. What an immense loss, I’m deeply sorry to all who loved him.” We echo those sentiments and offer condolences to family and friends at this time.