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The comedic actor also appeared in The Longest Yard.

By Christian Holub
April 08, 2021 at 01:22 PM EDT
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James Hampton
Credit: Everett Collection

James Hampton, a longtime Hollywood funnyman known for roles in comedies like The Longest Yard and Teen Wolf, has died at age 84. A spokesperson for the family confirmed that Hampton died of complications from Parkinson's at his home in Fort Worth, Texas.

Born in Oklahoma City on July 9, 1936, Hampton was raised in Dallas and later attended North Texas State College (now the University of North Texas) where he majored in speech and drama. After a stint in the army, Hampton landed his first Hollywood acting role on Gunsmoke, then the most popular TV show in the country.

It was on the set of Gunsmoke that Hampton met Burt Reynolds, with whom he would work often from then on. Hampton and Reynolds co-starred in movies like The Longest Yard, W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings, and Hustle. Hampton even directed Reynolds in several episodes of the CBS sitcom Evening Shade. His role as "Caretaker" in The Longest Yard earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer, even though he had already been acting for years by that point.

Hampton's other memorable roles included inept bugler Pvt. Hannibal Dobbs on F Troop (another Western show, but much more comedic than Gunsmoke), as well as Michael J. Fox's werewolf father in Teen Wolf. In 2002 he semi-retired from show business, moving back to the Fort Worth area where he would speak to local drama students and participate in charity events. His autobiography What? And Give Up Show Business? was just published in February.

Hampton is survived by his wife Mary, his children James, Andrea, and Frank, and his grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to The Michael J. Fox Foundation.

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