James Hampton, Star Of ‘F Troop’ & ‘Teen Wolf,’ Dies At 84
Actor James Hampton died Wednesday due to complications from Parkinson’s Disease. He was 84 years old.
Hampton was best known for his roles in F Troop and Teen Wolf. He also earned a Golden Globe nomination for his work in The Longest Yard. Hampton thrived in the entertainment business for about 50 years as an award-winning actor, director, writer and producer.
Hampton was born in Oklahoma City in 1936, but grew up in Dallas Texas. He attended the University of North Texas as a theater arts major before being drafted into the army. He served at the cavalry of Fort Knox and overseas.
When he returned to acting, he landed a role in the TV series Gunsmoke, where he met Burt Reynolds.
The pair worked together on The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing, The Longest Yard, W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings and Hustle. Hampton also wrote and directed several episodes of Reynolds’ CBS sitcom, Evening Shade.
Throughout his career, Hampton played supporting roles in films like The China Syndrome, Condorman and Sling Blade. He also appeared on Police Academy, Pump Up the Volume and Hawmps!
One of Hampton’s best known roles was as Fox’s on-screen dad in the 1985 comedy Teen Wolf. His character was forced to tell his son that they’re descended from werewolves.
On TV, he played the tone-deaf bugler Hannibal Dobbs on F Troop which ran from 1965 to 1967 and appeared on Mama’s Family, The Bob Newhart Show, Rawhide, The Guns of Will Sonnet and Who’s The Boss?
Hampton was also a good friend of Johnny Carson and made over 30 appearances on The Tonight Show.
Hampton worked as a recurring director on numerous sitcoms such as Hearts of Fire, Sister Sister, Smart Guy, The Tony Danza Show, Linc’s, Boston Common and Grace Under Fire.
Hampton’s agent, Linda McAlister, said her client was mentally sharp until the end of his life, despite the physical limitations he faced as a result of his Parkinson’s diagnosis.
“He loved (acting). He wasn’t trying to be a big star, he loved his characters because he was so understated. You didn’t realize the impact he made,” said McAlister. “He wasn’t trying to chew up the scenery. He was just adding warmth and humor and moving the story along.”
Hampton published his autobiography What? And Give Up Show Business? in February.
He is survived by his wife Mary, children James, Andrea and Frank and several grandchildren. The family requests donations to the Michael J. Fox Foundation in lieu of flowers.