James Hampton, best known for his roles in “F Troop,” “Teen Wolf” and “The Longest Yard,” for which he earned a Golden Globe nomination, died Wednesday due to complications from Parkinson’s disease, his agent confirmed to Variety. He was 84.
An award-winning actor, director, writer and producer, Hampton enjoyed a career in entertainment that spanned half a century before retiring to his native Texas.
Born in Oklahoma City and raised in Dallas, he served in the Army after attending North Texas State College. Shortly after, he landed a role in the hit television series, “Gunsmoke.”
On “Gunsmoke,” he met and developed a close relationship with 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,” “Teen Wolf Too,” “Condorman” and “Sling Blade.” He also appeared on “Police Academy,” “Pump Up the Volume” and “Hawmps!”
On TV, he played the hilarious, tone-deaf bugler Hannibal Dobbs on “F Troop” 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 became a regular guest on “The Tonight Show,” with over 30 appearances.
Hampton worked behind the scenes too, serving 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.”
His autobiography, “What? And Give Up Show Business?” was published earlier this year and was met with positive reviews.
Hampton 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.
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