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Actor James Hampton (1936-2021)


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https://comicbook.com/movies/news/james-hampton-teen-wolf-longest-yard-actor-dies-84/

James Hampton, Teen Wolf and The Longest Yard Actor, Dies at 84

Character actor James Hampton, a working actor since the 1960s with credits ranging from Teen Wolf to The Longest Yard, has passed away at the age of 84. News of Hampton's passing was confirmed online by family. Host Randy West wrote an extended obituary for Hampton on Facebook, confirming he passed today after "a long bout with the degenerative disease Lewy Body Dementia in which protein deposits on nerve cells in the brain affect thinking, memory and movement." Hampton is survived by his wife Mary Deese, son Jim and daughter Andrea, and three grandchildren. We send our deepest regards to his family and friends during this time.

Born in Oklahoma City, Hampton got his start in acting on the stage, resulting in an extended friendship with actor Burt Reynolds with whom he would collaborate on the big screen (like the original The Longest Yard) and on television (the hit series Evening Shade). His first TV work came in the 1960s and quickly turned into appearances on popualr shows like F Troop, Rawhide, and Gunsmoke. Other shows that Hampton appeared in over the years included The Dukes of Hazzard, Murder, She Wrote, Punky Brewster, Days of Our Lives, and Full House. He would recount his life in an autobiography titled What? And Give Up Show Business which was released just last year.

To '80s kids Hampton was perhaps best known for playing the part of Harold Howard in Teen Wolf, the father to Michael J. Fox's Scott Howard. Hampton had the important task of explaining the werewolf rules to his on-screen son in the movie, even appearing in wolf make-up himself. He would go on to reprise the part in the animated TV series and even in Teen Wolf Too.

Much like his Teen Wolf co-star, Hampton stepped away from public life and work as an actor after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Speaking in an interview with KRLD Radio last year Hampton's wife Mary Deese Hampton said: “He said to me one day ‘I want people to remember me for the smile. I want people to think about me in their favorite movie or their favorite TV show.’ So he chose to step back.”

In addition to appearing in front of the camera Hampton also worked behind it, turning to directing sitcoms in the 1990s including multiple episodes of the popular Disney Channel Original Series Smart Guy and ABC's Sister, Sister.

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I'll never forget the scene in "Teen Wolf"  when Michael J. Fox's character transforms into a werewolf for the first time. And then he discovers that he's inherited the trait from his father (Hampton).

The film opened on August 23, 1985 at No. 2 on the domestic box-office chart. The No. 1 film was Fox's other movie hit of the summer -- "Back to the Future."

 

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I remember Hampton mostly from TV shows. He often played a charming conman with a gift of the

gab. I'm sure he played other types of characters, but that's the persona I most remember. He played

a live positively guru/con artist in The Rockford Files, an old friend of Jim's who got Jim into a lot of

trouble.

 

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1 hour ago, Vautrin said:

I remember Hampton mostly from TV shows. He often played a charming conman with a gift of the

gab. I'm sure he played other types of characters, but that's the persona I most remember. He played

a live positively guru/con artist in The Rockford Files, an old friend of Jim's who got Jim into a lot of

trouble.

He had a nice role in "The China Syndrome" (1979) as a PR guy who escorted  a Southern California television reporter (Jane Fonda), her cameraman (Michael Douglas) and a soundman (Daniel Valdez) during a tour of the fictional Ventana nuclear power plant.

While there, the TV crew became witnesses to an accident that, according to an expert, could have resulted in radioactive material melting "right down through the bottom of the plant, theoretically to China." 

The thriller about a potential nuclear meltdown was released on March 16, 1979. Twelve days later, on March 28, 1979, an accident at Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island nuclear power plant shocked the world. 

See the source image

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22 minutes ago, Vautrin said:

I don't think I've ever seen The China Syndrome. I just remember him better from TV.

He was on an episode of Gunsmoke where he played a nice if naive character, not a con man.

Yeah, he pretty much always will be remembered as bugler Hannibal Dobbs on the 1960s ABC Western sitcom "F Troop"...

Vale: James Hampton | TV Tonight

...or as Leroy the handyman on the first three seasons of Doris Day's CBS sitcom (1968-71).

The Doris Day Show: Season 1 Episode 9 - TV on Google Play

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Yup, though I haven't seen F Troop since its original run. Didn't watch Doris Day's show at all. I

mean it was 1968. C'mon man.  I didn't remember that Hampton appeared in Sling Blade. I haven't

watched it in a long time and forgot about him. All in all, a very engaging actor.

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On 4/9/2021 at 6:52 PM, jakeem said:

He had a nice role in "The China Syndrome" (1979) as a PR guy who escorted  a Southern California television reporter (Jane Fonda), her cameraman (Michael Douglas) and a soundman (Daniel Valdez) during a tour of the fictional Ventana nuclear power plant.

While there, the TV crew became witnesses to an accident that, according to an expert, could have resulted in radioactive material melting "right down through the bottom of the plant, theoretically to China." 

The thriller about a potential nuclear meltdown was released on March 16, 1979. Twelve days later, on March 28, 1979, an accident at Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island nuclear power plant shocked the world. 

See the source image

Actually, I saw the movie a bit past it's release date....

I walked out of the theater thinking, "Thank Christ nothing like that could possibly really happen!"  Then woke up next morning to read about Three Mile Island.  :blink:

I'd hesitate to call Hampton's role in that movie as "nice" except for the fact his character wasn't intentionally mean or trying to cheat anyone out of anything.  But he did a good job as the corporate  public relations toady.

Sepiatone

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I am a big fan of James Hampton's work in THE LONGEST YARD.

He delivers the funniest line in the movie:

(Burt Reynolds and James Hampton are trying to recruit football players from the general inmate population and grading them from 1-10 as they hit the tackling dummy)

(Inmate hits tackling dummy with some force)

Reynolds: "Seven."

Hampton: "Seven."

(Inmate hits tackling dummy, minimal impact)

Reynolds: "Six."

Hampton: "Six."

(7'4" 350lbs Richard Kiel hits the tackling dummy, moving the sled six feet forward, dislodging the dummy from its supports and sending it flying)

Kiel: "AAAARGGGGHHHH"

Hampton: "Would, ahhhhh.... that be a ten?"

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