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James Hampton, 'F Troop' and 'Teen Wolf' actor, dies at age 84

He played bumbling bugler Hannibal Dobbs on the cult classic series and Michael J. Fox's werewolf dad in the '80s comedy.
James Hampton in the 1979 film \"The China Syndrome.\"
James Hampton in the 1979 film "The China Syndrome."Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection

Actor James Hampton, best known as the bumbling bugler of "F Troop" and Michael J. Fox's understanding dad in "Teen Wolf," died Wednesday from complications due to Parkinson's, his family and agent said.

The Lone Star state native and Forth Worth resident was 84.

He spent his final years mentoring local drama students and devoting himself to charity work, according to a family statement.

"It came as no surprise that James continued to receive fan mail from all over the world almost weekly," the family said.

Hampton played bugler Hannibal Dobbs on "F Troop," which ran for just two seasons on ABC, between 1965 and 1967, but went on to enjoy cult devotion in syndication.

Hampton was one of seven actors who appeared in at least 63 of that show's 65-episode run. Only 98-year-old Larry Storch, who played Cpl. Randolph Agarn, is alive today, according to the IMDb.

On the big screen, Hampton's best known role was on the 1985 comedy "Teen Wolf" as Fox's on-screen dad who was forced to tell his son that they're descended from werewolves.

Hampton also kept busy behind the camera, directing his long-time friend Burt Reynolds in 16 episodes of the early 1990s CBS sitcom "Evening Shade."

He enjoyed a long career with screen credits going as far back as the early 1960s with work on popular TV shows "Gunsmoke" and "Gomer Pyle, USMC."

Agent Linda McAlister said her client was mentally sharp to the end, but physical limitations brought on by Parkinson's kept him from the acting in recent years.

"He loved (acting). He wasn't trying to be a big star, he loved his characters because he was so understated," McAlister said of Hampton's longevity."You didn't realize the impact he made."

The agent was particularly proud of Hampton's scenes with Reynolds in "The Longest Yard" and Billy Bob Thornton in "Sling Blade."

The "Sling Blade" cast was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for best performance by a cast in 1997. Hampton's other big-screen credits included "The China Syndrome" and "Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach."

"He wasn't trying to chew up the scenery," McAlister told NBC News on Thursday. "He was just adding warmth and humor and moving the story along."

Hampton is survived by his wife Mary and children James, Andrea and Frank. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for fans to donate to The Michael J. Fox Foundation.