Rest in peace, James Hampton. The actor died on Wednesday due to complications from Parkinson’s disease, according to multiple reports. He was 84.
Hampton was best known for his roles in F Troop and Teen Wolf, as well as in The Longest Yard, for which he earned a Golden Globe nomination. He spent more than 50 years in the industry as an actor, director, writer and producer before retiring to his native Texas.
The entertainer was born in Oklahoma City in 1936, but raised in Dallas. He attended the University of North Texas as a theater arts major and was drafted into the U.S. Army, joining the cavalry at Fort Knox before serving overseas. He later returned to acting, and landed a role in the hit series Gunsmoke.
It was on that show that he met and became good friends with Burt Reynolds, whom he worked together often throughout the 1970s in 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' sitcom, Evening Shade.
Hampton's many film credits include The China Syndrome, Condorman and Sling Blade. He also had success on TV, playing Hannibal Dobbs on F Troop, and appearing in Mama’s Family, The Bob Newhart Show, Rawhide,The Guns of Will Sonnet and Who’s The Boss?, among others.
Hampton eventually wrote an autobiography called What? And Give Up Show Business? which was published earlier this year.
The actor is survived by his wife Mary, children James, Andrea and Frank and several grandchildren.