James Hampton, known for ‘F Troop’ and ‘The Longest Yard,’ dead at 84

Actor James Hampton, best known as bugler Hannibal Dobbs on “F Troop,” Caretaker in the original “The Longest Yard” and the father in “Teen Wolf,” has died at age 84. 

The Hollywood Reporter, citing a family source, revealed that Hampton died at his home in Fort Worth, Texas due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. 

Born in Oklahoma City in 1936, Hampton was mostly raised in Dallas until he attended the University of North Texas and was ultimately drafted into the U.S. Army. THR reports that he was in the cavalry at Fort Knox before being sent to active duty overseas. When he returned home, he studied acting with Sidney Lumet’s father, Baruch Lumet at the Knox Street Theater in Dallas. 

Eventually, he moved to New York and found a job on the Oscar-nominated movie “The Cliff Dwellers.” Due to its success, he went to Los Angeles where he landed a role on the TV show “Gunsmoke” in 1963. On the show, he met Burt Reynolds, which launched a friendship and working relationship that would endure until Reynolds’ death in 2018.

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Actor James Hampton, pictured here on 'The Tonight Show,' died at age 84.

Actor James Hampton, pictured here on ‘The Tonight Show,’ died at age 84.
(Fred Sabine/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

The New York Post notes that Hampton and Reynolds starred opposite each other in films like “Hustle,” “W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings” and “The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing.” Hampton also directed 16 episodes of Reynolds’ TV show “Evening Shade,” which ran from 1990 until 1994.

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Independent of Reynolds, Hampton studied with Leonard Nimoy, who helped him land the part of Pvt. Hannibal Dobbs on “F Troop,” which only ran two seasons (65 episodes) but lived on in syndication. 

Most recently, he published his autobiography in February titled “What? And Give Up Show Business?”

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He is survived by his second wife, actress Mary Deese and children James, Andrea and Frank as well as grandchildren. The family has requested that donations be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. 

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Hampton played Fox’s father in the 1985 horror comedy “Teen Wolf.”

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