Credit: Courtesy of the Everett Collection (2)

April 7, 2021, marked the passing of James Hampton.

If you were watching Days of Our Lives in the late 1980s, you must recognize the face of the actor pictured above. James Hampton played the memorable role of Saul Taylor, a reverend whose ministry turned out to be a front for a drug-smuggling ring.

Hey, it’s Salem — what did you expect?

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And that was just the tip of the iceberg where the preacherman was concerned. Back in the day, the villain and partner in crime Jericho had been responsible for burning a number of Black churches. One even blew up — with Marcus Hunter’s parents inside!

In the end, Saul met his maker — well, more likely went straight to hell — when Jericho used a bullet to ensure that he never revealed their past misdeeds.

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Yeah, the whole story was evil on top of evil on top of… You get the idea. Anyway…

Hampton, probably best known for his tour of duty as F Troop bugler Hannibal Shirley Dobbs in the 1960s, died at the age of 84 on April 7, according to our sister site Deadline.

In addition to his TV work, Hampton appeared in movies such as The China Syndrome, Sling Blade, Teen Wolf and its sequel. The triple threat also wrote for and directed sitcoms later in his career; most notable among them was Evening Shade, the early-’90s series that starred Burt Reynolds (with whom Hampton had acted in 1974’s The Longest Yard).

THE LONGEST YARD, from left, Burt Reynolds, James Hampton, 1974

On this sad occasion, pay your respects by scrolling through a photo gallery of all the stars we’ve already lost in 2021. We have a feeling it’s gonna be a long year.