Did you grow up watching the hilarious sitcom F-Troop? It was a sitcom western that followed American soldiers and Native Americans and their various antics during the 1800s.
It was a brilliant show created by writers Seaman Jacobs, Ed James, and Jim Barnett. But the reason the show became a huge success was because of its excellent cast.
These actors brought the unique characters to life and helped make the storylines exciting and often, hilarious!
So who were these great F-Troop cast members? Many of them have passed away and its time that we look back at their incredible lives and careers. We’ll also catch up with one main cast member who’s still with us to see what he’s up to.
Let’s learn about the folks who made F-Troop a massive success…
The cast was led by Sergeant Morgan Sylvester O’Rourke. He was played by Forrest Tucker. Forrest Tucker was born in 1919 in Indiana. He began his showbiz career as a teenager – working as a street singer. He would later work as a Master of Ceremonies at a Burlesque Theater.
In his late teens and early twenties, he began working in films. He had a supporting role in The Westerner, which was directed by William Wyler. He soon become a favorite character in Westerns and also had a reputation for playing villains.
His film career included films such as Sands of Iwo Jima, Rock Island Trail, California Passage, and Auntie Mame.
But he rose to stardom when he was cast as Sergeant O’Rourke in F-Troop. This role was that of a scheming soldier who always tried to get ahead and never quite succeeded!
He spent much of his latter career acting in television shows and TV movies. He passed away in 1986 at the age of 67 of lung cancer.
Before we tell you more about how each F-Troop cast member died, please like this video and subscribe to our channel for more current news and interesting stories. Now, back to the video…
In contrast to the scheming Sergeant O’Rourke, was the bumbling Captain Wilton Parmenter played by Ken Berry.
He was born in 1933 in Illinois in He began his career in his late 20s, playing bit parts on popular TV shows. These included shows like Harrigan & Son, Peter Loves Mary, and The Ann Sothern Show.
His two biggest roles were as Lieutenant Melton in Ensign O’Toole and Dr. John Kapish in Dr. Kildare. But his breakthrough came when he cast as Captain Parmenter in F-Troop. He provided many of the best comic moments in the show.
He spent the rest of his career with bit parts and recurring roles on popular TV shows including Fantasy Island, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and The Golden Girls. But his work on F-Troop was always the highlight of his career.
He had the flexibility of a dancer and used this to provide much of the slapstick and physical humor in the show. He passed away at the age of 85 in California. His death was due to heart complications.
We’ll always remember him as an actor who got a late start in his career, but never slowed down at worked relentlessly. He’s a great inspiration for any aspiring entertainer!
Another great character from F-Troop the sassy Wrangler Jane played by Melody Patterson.
She was born in 1949 in Inglewood, California. Melody got bitten by the acting bug at a young age – starting her career at the age of 4! She appeared in a local play and never looked back after that.
In her early teens, she appeared in a few small roles in television shows such as The Jim Backus Show and Bye Bye Birdie. When she auditioned for the role of Wrangler Jane, she was just a few months shy of her 16th birthday.
She lied about her age and told the producers that she was about to turn 18 and finish high school soon. By the time they found out the truth, she had already filmed 7 episodes of the show.
Wrangler Jane was one of the most loved characters on the show and audiences loved Melody Patterson’s comic timing. They also loved the incredible on-screen chemistry between Wrangler Jane and Captain Parmenter.
She spent the rest of her career having small roles in popular TV shows such as Green Acres. She also appeared in a few horror films such as Blood and Lace and The Cycle Savages. Toward the end of her career, she returned to her roots and acted in many plays.
She died at age 66 in 2015 due to a multiple organ failure.
James Hampton was born in Oklahoma in 1936 and raised in Texas. His parents ran a dry-cleaning business and it seemed unlikely that he’d have a career in show business. But the allure of entertainment was there, and he studied Theater Arts at the University of North Texas.
However, before he could start his acting career, he drafted into the Army. He served in the cavalry at Fort Knox and then served overseas. When he returned from the army, he continued to study acting under Baruch Lumet – the father of Sidney Lumet. He began his career acting on stage.
His big break came when he appeared in a short film called The Cliff Dwellers in 1962. The short film received an Oscar nomination, and this helped him network with many key players in the entertainment industry.
He then received a recurring role on Gunsmoke. He became a household name when he was cast as Private Hannibal Dobbs in F-Troop. This was a foolhardy character and it gave James an opportunity to show off his comic talents.
After finishing work on F-Troop he continued to appear in popular television shows. He appeared in the Teen Wolf films and television show as Uncle Harold. James also appeared in the Burt Reynold’s film The Longest Yard.
He spent the last years of his career working in films. His final film was The Association which was released in 2015. He passed away in April of 2021 at the age of 84.
F-Troop was one of the early shows that had Native American characters in the mainstream. Actor Frank de Kova played Chief Wild Eagle.
He was a prominent character actor who appeared in many popular films including The Ten Commandments, Viva Zapata!, The Big Sky, The Mechanic, and American Pop.
But his role as Chief Wild Eagle in F-Troop was his best-known role. He died of heart failure in 1981 at the age of 71.
The main cast of F-Troop also included Corporal Randolph Agarn – played by Larry Storch. Larry is still with us and often looks back fondly at his days working on set with F-Troop.
Corporal Agarn was one of the silliest characters on the show and Larry’s performance brought some of the biggest laughs on the show. His character was so well-loved that Larry was named “Mayor for a Day” at the Fort Lee Arts and Music Festival.
Larry is retired but travels when he can to meet his fans and to discuss the show. Larry was born in 1923 in New York. Due to the financial challenges the family faced in the midst of the Great Depression, Larry ended up dropping out of school.
He began working as a stand-up comedian – opening for bandleader Al Donahue. Larry later served in the US Navy during World War II.
He continued to pursue his stand-up career following his time in the navy. His popularity as a comic led to many appearances on television shows. These included appearances in Get Smart, Car 54, Where Are You?, Colombo, Sgt. Bilko, CHiPs, Alias Smith and Jones, All in the Family, and much more.
As such, once he was cast as Corporal Agarn in F-Troop he was a welcome addition to the cast. This is the role that we’ll always remember him for.
After his work on F-Troop, he continued to act in many great television shows. These included The Batman/Superman Hour, The Queen and I, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, The Brady Kids, and many more. His most recent work was in the pilot episode of Medium Rare – filmed in 2010!
Larry Storch went from being one of the most notable stand-up comics to one of the most recognized faces on American television. He remains an American icon and one of the greatest contributors to American culture.
There were rumors a few years ago that he had died. Larry laughed off these rumors and continued to be active in-person and on social media whenever given a chance. F-Troop fans can take comfort that one of the lead cast members is still with us and happy to discuss the show if you manage to catch him when he’s free.
With such a fantastic cast, it’s no wonder that F-Troop became one of America’s most beloved sitcoms….
If you haven’t watched F-Troop, maybe now is the time to look back on this great sitcom. If you’re a die-hard fan of the show, maybe now is the time to start watching reruns and reminiscing on your favorite episodes…
Are you a fan of F-Troop? The show was one of the first to blend humor with the crazy tales of the Wild West!
Do you think that the show has stood the test of time? Or do F-Troop fans need to actively promote it to the newer generation?
Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.
If you liked this story, be sure to hit the ‘like’ button and be sure to Subscribe to FactsVerse for more great stories! Hit the bell icon to receive regular notifications!
We’ll see you in the next video!