James Hampton, a veteran character actor best known as the goofy bugle Hannibal Shirley Dobbs in the 1960s sitcom Troop F, died Wednesday at his home in Fort Worth, Texas, after a long illness. He was 84 and his death was confirmed by television biographer Randy West
A character actor whose amiable appearance made him the quintessential sidekick, Hampton had a long career in film and television before retiring to his native Texas.
Beyond the F Troop, he is mostly remembered for many key roles in the film, including appearances as “Caretaker” the manager of the prison football team in the prison film. Burt reynolds The longest yard.
He also had supporting roles in the 1979 thriller China syndrome, the 1981 superhero comedy Condorman, the comedy of 1985, and Teen Wolf,. playing Harold Howard, father of the main character of Michael J. Fox. Hampton reprized the role in the 1987 follow-up with Jason Bateman, Teen Wolf tooand the fallout from the animated series. It was also in 1996 Slingshot blade like Jerry Woolridge.
Later in his career, Hampton wrote and directed several sitcoms, including the early 1990s series. Evening shadow, who introduced Burt Reynolds.
Hampton studied acting in New York, Los Angeles and Texas and appeared off Broadway in several productions. It was in one of these rooms that he met Reynolds.
He appeared in the Oscar nominated short The Cliffdwellers, but began his television career in 1962 as “Jeb” on the long-running television show Gunsmoke. This led to F Troop in 1965 where he memorably played PFC Dobbs, the incompetent bugle and personal assistant to the main character Captain Parmenter (Ken Berry). Dobbs could only play competitively Yankee Doodle and Bowl on his bugle, bolloxing the standard army fare.
Although the television series only lasted from 1965 to 1967, it became a fan favorite in frequent reruns over the years.
Other TV roles included a recurring spot on The Doris Day Show as Leroy B. Simpson and appearances on Gomer Pyle USMC, and The Rockford Files.
He received a HALO award for his role in the film Hawmps! and a Golden Globe nomination for “Caretaker” in The longest yard.
In 1980 he starred alongside Gary Collins in the low budget film Hangar 18.
Survivors include his wife, Mary Deese, son Jim and daughter Andrea, and three grandchildren.
No details were immediately available on the commemorative plans.