Writer, director, and actor James Hampton died Wednesday at his home in Fort Worth, Texas from complications due to Parkinson’s Disease. He was 84 years old.
Hampton was born in Oklahoma and raised in Texas, attending the University of North Texas where he majored in Theater Arts. After graduating from college, he continued to study, working with Leonard Nimoy in Los Angeles and making his theater debut in New York.
Soon, he began making guest appearances on various TV shows before landing the role of troop bugler Hannibal Dobbs in the popular 60s sitcom, F-Troop. It was a role that made people really pay attention to him, and soon he found himself steadily working across platforms in theater, on television, and eventually, the movies.
In the late 70s, he starred in films like Hawmps! and The Cat from Outer Space. Then, in 1985, he took on a role that would etch another little place in film history when he played Michael J. Fox’s werewolf father, Harold Howard, in Teen Wolf. He would go on to reprise that role in Teen Wolf Too and in the short-lived animated Teen Wolf series that ran from 1986-87.
Sadly, he and Fox both were later diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, and the family has requested that donations be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in lieu of flowers.
Later, he would also appear opposite Billy Bob Thornton in Sling Blade.
It was during the 90s, that Hampton began writing and directing. He write and directed several episodes of Evening Shade and took on directing duties multiple times for Sister, Sister, Boston Common, and Smart Guy.
James Hampton is survived by his wife Mary Deese, his three children, and three grandchildren.