James Hampton Appeared on the Johnny Carson Show With Chevy Chase and Richard Pryor in an Unforgettable 1977 Episode

by Joe Rutland

You never know who shows up on the Johnny Carson Show. Imagine a couch with Richard Pryor, Chevy Chase, and James Hampton on it.

Back in 1977, all three were on Carson’s famed NBC late-night talk show promoting their work. Hampton, who died on Thursday at 84 years old, was a character actor that gained fame in TV’s “F-Troop” and movies like “The Longest Yard” and “Teen Wolf.”

He was on Carson’s show talking about “The Amazing Howard Hughes.” It was a TV movie based on the eccentric businessman’s life. Hampton played Wilber Peterson in the movie while Tommy Lee Jones portrayed Hughes.

Chase was on for “The Chevy Chase Show” and Pryor was appearing in support of “The Richard Pryor Special?” as Carson laughed it up with his guests on the Johnny Carson Show. Actress Marilyn Sokol also was a guest, too.

Hampton Wears Sunglasses On Johnny Carson Show Appearance

In the show, Carson introduces Hampton, who comes out wearing sunglasses as a way to sort-of joke about people not recognizing him. Carson asks him about wearing the sunglasses and he says, “Well, it’s so I won’t get mobbed.”

“Did you get a little reaction from the last time you were here?” Carson asks. He’s referring to a 1975 appearance on the Johnny Carson Show when Carson climbed aboard a camel Hampton guided out to the stage.

“Well, my feeling was this,” Hampton said. “That if the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then the opposite would be true. Since I am not on the bus route for the movie stars’ homes, I decided I would go to where the people were.”

James Hampton Said Work Would Come His Way In 2011 Interview

Hampton appears at the very end of this Johnny Carson Show episode. Pryor does speak up and say, “Weren’t you in ‘The Longest Yard’?” Carson and Hampton both say yes.

In a July 2011 interview with Scott Murray, Hampton talks about how he’s been able to hang around the entertainment industry.

“It comes my way,” Hampton said. “People say, ‘Well, how did you do this or do that or whatever.’ And I say that it really boils down to the script and what the story is and how that’s going to be something that I can be.”

Hampton made a career of being a solid actor and director. His contributions to the entertainment industry will be remembered for a long time to come.