Sonny Shroyer
Screengrab via YouTube

'The Dukes of Hazzard' Star Sonny Shroyer's Long and Varied Acting Career

Households across America fell for Deputy Enos Strate, a regular on CBS' classic TV series The Dukes of Hazzard (1979-1985). Yet Enos wasn't the first or last role of note for American actor Sonny Shroyer, a regular at events for the Dukes' super fans.

Born August 28, 1935 in Valdosta, Georgia, Shroyer attended Florida State University on a football scholarship. After an injury ended Shroyer's gridiron dreams, he transferred to and graduated from the University of Georgia.

Shroyer's first break as an actor came in Payday, a 1972 film that starred Rip Torn as a country singer and brought us the best tagline: "If you can't smoke it, drink it, spend it or love it... forget it."

He then appeared in three high-profile films starring another former Florida State football player, Burt Reynolds: The Longest Yard (1974), Gator (1976) and Smokey and the Bandit (1977).

By the early '80s, Shroyer had landed movie roles alongside comedy stars Tim Conway (They Went That-A-Way & That-A-Way (1978)) and Bill Cosby (The Devil and Max Devlin (1981)).

Of course, Shroyer's biggest role came as Hazzard County's most lovably naive deputy, unsuccessful in halting the General Lee for Boss Hogg (Sorrell Booke) yet successful in winning the hand of Bo (John Schneider) and Luke Duke's (Tom Wopat) cousin, Daisy Duke (Catherine Bach).

From 1980-'81, the short-lived series Enos followed Shroyer's deputy sheriff character from small town Georgia to the big city of Atlanta. He later appeared as Enos in pair of TV movie spin-offs: The Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion and The Dukes of Hazzard: Hazzard in Hollywood.

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Shroyer has often been cast as a police chief or sheriff, with examples of this including roles in a TV miniseries about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1978's King) and the films The Gingerbread Man (1998) and A Tale About Bootlegging (2005).

He also suited multiple television series set in the South, including Matlock, In The Heat of the Night, American Gothic and I'll Fly Away.

On the big screen, he played legendary University of Alabama football coach Bear Bryant in Forrest Gump (1994) and country singer turned Louisiana Gov. Jimmie Davis in Ray Charles biopic Ray (2004). Other films based on historic figures and featuring Shroyer include The Lincoln Conspiracy (as Lewis Paine, 1977) and The Rosa Parks Story (2002).

Shroyer also recorded country music, covering Roger Miller's "You Can't Rollerskate In a Buffalo Herd" for the children's album Back in Hazzard, and shared screen time with Kris Kristofferson (Freedom Road (1979)) plus Randy Travis and Mary Kay Place (The Rainmaker (1997), in which Shroyer portrayed Delbert Birdsong).

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