The Longest Yard actor James Hampton dies at the age of 84 after complications from Parkinson’s disease
Actor James Hampton has died at the age of 84 after complications from Parkinson’s disease.
The U.S. Army veteran and film talent passed away Wednesday at his home in Fort Worth, Texas, according to a family source who confirmed news of his death to The Hollywood Reporter
Hampton was best known for his role as the Caretaker in the original 1974 version of The Longest Yard starring Burt Reynolds, the bumbling bugler Hannibal Dobbs in the 1960s military sitcom F Troop, and the father in the Michael J 1985 Fox Favorite Teen Wolf.
RIP: Veteran actor James Hampton has passed away at the age of 84 from complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was seen above in 2012
Born in Oklahoma City in 1936, Hampton grew up in Dallas, Texas and studied theater during his time at the University of North Texas.
Before starting his acting career, he was drafted into the United States Army. During his time as a soldier, Hampton was stationed in Germany and won awards for his performance with the USO.
After his shift he returned to his passion for acting, studying at Baruch Lumet, Sidney Lumet’s father, at the Knox Street Theater in Dallas before making the jump to New York.
After being cast in the Academy Award-nominated short film The Cliffdwellers (1962), Hampton appeared in a 1963 episode of Gunsmoke opposite Burt Reynolds, who would become his close friend and regular castmate.
The pair worked together over the years on The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing (1973), The Longest Yard (1974), WW And The Dixie Dancekings (1975) and Hustle (1975) and Hampton wrote / directed several episodes of Reynolds’ CBS -sitcom Evening shade.
Go long: Hampton was known for his role in the 1974 prison / sports comedy The Longest Yard, where he would work with close friend Burt Reynolds
Veterinarian: Before starting his acting career, he was drafted into the United States Army. During his time as a soldier, Hampton was stationed in Germany and won awards for his performance with the USO
Buddies: ‘I think he liked my sense of humor,’ Hampton once said of his friendship with the Boogie Nights actor, together in The Longest Yard above
“I think he liked my sense of humor,” Hampton once said of his friendship with the Boogie Nights actor.
Gunsmoke was followed by acting classes with Leonard Nimoy before Hampton scored the role of Private Hannibal Dobbs in two seasons of F Troop, an exquisite role given his days in the service.
In 1974 Hampton went on to work with director Robert Aldrich on the prison / sports comedy The Longest Yard.
James was originally cast to play the snarling prisoner Unger, but convinced Aldrich he would be better than the smart James ‘Caretaker’ Farrell.
Recalling speaking to Aldrich in an interview in 2011, he said he said to the filmmaker, “With all due respect, sir, I don’t want to play that part.”
On a high note: The lifelong Texan returned to his soldiery roots when he played bugler Private Hannibal Dobbs in two seasons of F Troop
Honored: He earned an Oscar nomination for Best Rising Star for The Longest Yard, despite having spent more than a decade in show business
He said, “Really? What would you like to play?” I said, “I want to play Caretaker.” He said, “Caretaker only has five rules.” I said, “Now he only has five lines.” ‘
The role evolved as Hampton and Reynolds improvised scenes together, showing Aldrich ‘there was a chemistry between me and Burt’ and ‘turned [them] loose. “‘
Hampton would earn a Golden Globe nod for the now-defunct New Star Of The Year honor in 1975, despite starting his career more than a decade earlier. (The last New Star award was awarded to Ben Kingsley in 1983.)
Another iconic role of Hampton is Harold Howard’s father in 1985’s Teen Wolf, a role he would reprise in the 1987 sequel and provide a voice in an animated CBS series.
Further credits include The Rockford Files (1975), sketches about Mary Tyler Moore’s short-lived 1978 variety show and series like Dr. Kildare, The FBI, Who’s The Boss ?, Full House, Love, American Style and Days Of Our Lives.
What a Howl: Another iconic role of Hampton is Harold Howard’s father in 1985’s Teen Wolf, a role he would reprise in the 1987 sequel and provide the voice in an animated CBS series
The writing stuff! Hampton published his autobiography What? And give up show business? in February
His movie roles have ranged from Soldier Blue (1970) to Hawmps! (1976), Condorman (1981), Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach (1988) and Pump Up the Volume (1990), as well as the iconic ‘incredible, edible eggs’ commercials for the American Egg Board.
Hampton published his autobiography What? And give up show business? in February.
He is survived by his second wife, actress Mary Deese, whom he married in 2002, as well as children James, Andrea and Frank and his grandchildren.
Instead of flowers, the family asks for donations The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
Beloved: Instead of flowers, the family asks for donations to The Michael J. Fox Foundation For Parkinson’s Research