R.I.P. James Hampton, F Troop bugler and Michael J. Fox's dad in Teen Wolf

The Oklahoma native also played a ranch hand on The Doris Day Show.

The Everett Collection

Read to Me

James Hampton began his screen career as a go-to goofball. Gunsmoke cast him as Eliab Haggen, Festus' even quirkier cousin (which is saying something) who comes to Dodge to shoot off a piece of his ear in "Eliab's Aim." That same year, in 1965, he landed his biggest role yet, a lead as part of the F Troop ensemble.

On that wacky Western comedy, he played Bugler Private Hannibal Shirley Dobbs, a mama's boy from Louisiana. He often earned the ire of Corporal Agarn (Larry Storch) who would blurt, "I'm warning you, Dobbs!" 

After appearing throughout the two seasons of that sitcom, Hampton landed another role that cast him as a naïve country boy, on The Doris Day Show. That series went through several iterations and scenarios, but in its first season, Doris moves to a ranch in rural California, where she is assisted by the somewhat incompetent LeRoy B. Simpson, played by Hampton. 

The show drastically retooled in season two, when Doris moves to San Francisco and starts working at a magazine. LeRoy was left behind.

For the next decade, Hampton largely took guest roles on television. His biggest gig came on the silver screen, playing "Caretaker" in The Longest Yard. That movie reteamed him with Burt Reynolds. Remember that Gunsmoke episode "Eliab's Arm"? That was Reynolds penultimate episode on Gunsmoke as Quint Asper.

Eighties pop culture lovers will remember Hampton for a hairier role — he was the werewolf father of Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf. He was arguably the lynchpin of the franchise. He reprised the role of Harold Howard in both Teen Wolf Too and the cartoon series Teen Wolf.

While it was a flop, another fascinating credit on Hampton's resume was Mary, the 1978 sketch-comedy / variety show centered around Mary Tyler Moore. Hampton was part of a sketch team that included by David Letterman and Michael Keaton. Despite that gathered talent, it lasted a mere handful of episodes.

The Oklahoma-born University of North Texas graduate also had memorable roles in The Cat From Outer Space (1978), The China Syndrome (1979) and Sling Blade (1996). On April 7, Hampton passed away in his Texas home, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 84.

 
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

19 Comments

Post a comment
Mike 7 days ago
Back in '81, Jim Hampton played sitcom hubby in a short-lived series called MAGGIE, with Miriam Flynn.
In the first show, Jim has to try to get in a car in a crowded garage.
How he does it - can't be described; you have to see it for yourself.
The MAGGIE episodes are mostly on YouTube; this one, which is called "The School Conference", the scene comes about 15 minutes in; it's worth looking for.
Corey 7 days ago
James was also in The Longest Yard.
Wiseguy 7 days ago
He also did ads for the American Egg Council praising the "incredible edible egg."
Dan 8 days ago
I met him at a TV-Cowboy weekend in Texas several years ago. Sorry to hear he has passed.
YuleNaverlearn 9 days ago
RIP. At least now cousin festus doesn't have to worry about getting his ear shot off. Not the whole thing just the little hangy down part
denny 9 days ago
I remember him mostly from The Longest Yard, Teen Wolf, and Sling Blade.

RIP James
Michael 9 days ago
Jim Rockford's childhood friend, Aaron Ironwood.
TheWhiteTemptation 10 days ago
Wow! I’m heartbroken 💔....James Hampton was my favorite movie Dad. I loved the first Teen Wolf movie—I could take or leave the second one. I sure will miss him, GOD bless James. May GOD be with you and provide you with eternal comfort and peace. My sympathy and prayers go out to all of the Hampton family. GOD Bless 😇
TheDavBow3 10 days ago
He played a pretty good bad guy I "Mannix" too (I think) 😉 Sad to hear about his passing. Rest in Peace
daDoctah 10 days ago
One of Hampton's starring roles in the movies was the western comedy "HAWMPS!", about the pre-Civil War experiment using camels as beasts of burden in the west. This was a real thing in history, but of course played for laughs in this film produced by the same people who made the "Benji" movies.
DIGGER1 10 days ago
R.I.P., JAMES HAMPTON, B.07/09/1936-D.0407/2021.

Here is a "YOUTUBE" clip of the ending of the movie "TEEN WOLF(1985)", with the song "SHOOTING FOR THE MOON", by Amy Holland, as a tribute to James Hampton.

RobertM 10 days ago
They neglected to mention how vain Corporal Hannibal Dobbs was.
PaulSanteramo 10 days ago
James was also I’d love American style has a black out player black out player means the little skits in between the shows and at the beginning and end of the show you’re only about 10 to 15 seconds long
DethBiz 10 days ago
RIP Mr. Hampton. So ironic. Just watched the Jeb episode of Gunsmoke with him in it this morning. Will always remember him as Wheeler the Dealer in the Pet Lock episode of Mama's Family.
cperrynaples 10 days ago
That leaves Larry Storch as the last survivor of F Troop! BTW, didn't Hampton literally scare the piss out of the principal in Teen Wolf? Fun Fact: He was on Mary Tyler Moore's variety series, which featured David Letterman, Michael Keaton and Swoozie Kurtz, who now plays Mayim Bialeck's mother on Call Me Kat!
Wiseguy cperrynaples 7 days ago
That "fun fact" was mentioned in the article above.
cperrynaples Wiseguy 7 days ago
Yeah, I skimmed the article and missed it, but I did add the Swoozie Kurtz line! And here's a fun fact about her: Her father was a WWII pilot and named her after the plane he flew!
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?