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James Hampton (1936–2021), star of “F Troop,” “Teen Wolf”

by Linnea Crowther

James Hampton was an actor known for roles including the incompetent bugler Hannibal Dobbs on TV’s “F Troop.”

Acting career

Hampton had just a handful of TV appearances before starring on “F Troop,” guest starring on shows including “Gunsmoke,” “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.,” and “Rawhide.” It was “F Troop” that kickstarted his career as he played Private Dobbs, the bugler for a troop of Wild West soldiers – who couldn’t play his bugle very well at all. He went on to star as ranch hand Leroy B. Simpson on “The Doris Day Show.”

Hampton’s movie career began in the 1970s, and he starred as Caretaker in “The Longest Yard” (1974) alongside his friend, Burt Reynolds (1936–2018). In 1985, he starred as the father of Michael J. Fox’s character in “Teen Wolf,” a role he reprised in its sequel, “Teen Wolf Too” (1987) and in a voice role on the 1986 animated “Teen Wolf” TV series. Other notable films for Hampton include “Pump Up the Volume” (1990) and “Sling Blade” (1996).


Hampton continued appearing widely on TV throughout the 1980s and ‘90s in shows like “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “Full House,” and “Melrose Place.” In 1989, he began a recurring role as the villainous Rev. Saul Taylor in “Days of Our Lives.” Hampton also directed TV episodes for shows including “Evening Shade,” “Grace Under Fire,” and “Sister, Sister.”

Tributes to James Hampton

Full obituary: The Hollywood Reporter

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