James Hampton, Bumbling ‘F Troop’ Bugler, dies at 84

James Hampton, a character actor who received a measure of sitcom immortality in his early roles in the 1960s series “F Troop” alongside the inept Buggy Hannibal Dobbs, died Wednesday at his home in the Trophy Club, Texas. He was 84 years old.

His agent, Linda McAllister, said the cause was complications of Parkinson’s disease.

Mr. Hampton had a general talent that suited comic roles featuring bumbling or naivety. That handful of television shows, “Death Valley” and “Dr.” Appeared in Kildare “between them, when the director of a” Gunsmoke “episode brought him to the attention of Warner Bros. casting director. It starred on” F Troop, “a playful ABC comedy about Fort Courage, a military outpost in the 1860s. .

Starred in the show Forest tucker, Larry Storch, Melody Patterson And Ken berry, But Mr. Hampton made his indelible mark in his secondary role as a bugler, whose playing resembled music only. (In the show’s opening montage, an arrow strikes a horn at the end of his horn bell as he is playing.) The show only ran for two seasons, but it was a top-notch comic comedy era. Was. The Andy Griffith Show ‚ÄĚcatapulted it to a certain audience.

Mr. Hampton was well known to the later generation from the 1985 film “Teen Wolf”, in which he played the title character’s father, a werewolf starred by rising star Michael J. Was played by Fox. He was also in its sequel “Teen Wolf Two”, which starred Jason Bateman in 1987.

Mr. Hampton also played more serious roles, including the public relations man of the power company, who is portraying the character of Jane Fonda around the nuclear power plant when disaster struck in “The China Syndrome” (1979).

He also occasionally directed, including episodes of the 1990s series “Hearts Affair”, whose cast included Billy Bob Thornton. When Mr. Thornton wrote his acclaimed film “Sling Blade” (1996), he ensured that it had a role for Mr. Hampton as the hospital’s administrator.

Burt reynolds Another important influence was in his career. They met while working together on “Gunsmoke” when Mr. Reynolds was a regular artist. Both appeared in both the 1974 football film “The Longest Yard” and Mr. Hampton and wrote and directed episodes of Mr. Reynolds’ 1990 series “Evening Shed”.

James Wade Hampton was born on July 9, 1936 in Oklahoma City. His father, Evan, was the owner of a dry cleaning business, and his mother, Edna (Galley) Hampton, worked in a millinery.

He grew up in Dallas and was a speech and drama major at North Texas State College (now University of North Texas). In 1959 he was enlisted in the army and served in Europe. Returning to Texas in the early 1960s, he worked in regional theater before moving to New York in 1962.

Credit …Barry brekisen / wiremage

Mr. Hampton continued to work for the next four decades and occasionally played roles in 2002 after he was semi-retired and settled back in Texas. He is survived by his wife, Marie Desse Hampton, whom he married in 2002. Two sons, James and Frank; A daughter, Andrea Hampton Doyle; And three grandchildren.

After “F Troop”, Mr. Hampton returned to the 1976 film “Hopps” in slapstick-in-uniform! He served as a lieutenant in the mid-19th century, overseeing an experiment in Texas that used camels in the cavalry. Mr. Hampton was Johnny Carson’s favorite at the time and was a frequent guest on the “Tonight Show” on the night of the Hollywood premiere of “Hopps!”

As Mr. Hampton told the story to Ohio’s Community Common of Portsmouth in 2007, he was Mr. Carson’s first guest so that he would leave early to go to the premiere. He mentioned Mr. Carson that his mother was in the studio audience. Mr. Carson lowered the lights of the house and congratulated him on his son’s big night.

His mother replied: “You just move on to the premiere, James. I’m going to stay and watch the rest of Johnny.”

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