Ken Berry (of F-Troop) Dead at 85

Died in Burbank on December 1.

Wrangler Jane was waiting for him.

I remember Ken from Mayberry RFD. He took over after Andy Griffith quit.

Also saw him on Mama’s Family.

I thought he looked similar to Stan Laurel.

Ken always did a nice job in his roles.


Poor guy stuck in Burbank. He deserved better. :frowning:

“A hero who sneezed
abruptly seized
retreat and reversed it
to victory!”

Fare well, Captain Parmenter!

Of the main characters I think that leaves Larry Storch (who has some interesting family tales) and James Hampton (the bugler*). Neither has worked recently.

F Troop’s first season was in B&W, the second in color. That year was the first time that the prime time schedules of the 3 networks were all in color. So it nicely spanned a key transition in TV history.

Fun fact: Ken Berry was married to the original Audrey of The Little Shop of Horrors. Take that, Seymour.

Did he every have a major role where he basically wasn’t the straight man?

  • The spelling of this just doesn’t look right.

F-Troop titles.

I loved him as Vinton in “Mama’s Family.”

Nuts. RIP, Ken. :frowning:

“Bugler” is correct. Hannibal Dobbs (James Hampton) was F-Troop’s bugler. Went on to plug “the incredible edible egg.”

F-Troop is one of my all-time favorite comedy series. Ken Berry was part of an absolutely perfect cast. It was cancelled after two years for the same reason Gilligan’s Island was: The studio heads thought the territory it was given on the lot could be put to better (more profitable) use. Pity!

RIP, Wilton. :frowning:

Another** Fun Fact**: Melody “Wrangler Jane” Patterson (later married to James “Danno” MacArthur of Hawaii Five-O fame) was only 16 when she was cast for F-Troop. She had to lie about her age to get the role.

Yeah - I mainly remembered him from Mayberry. My reaction to his obit was to think that he seemed pretty ubiquitous back in my youth, but I hadn’t even thought of him in so long. Made me think of an interesting “class” of celebrity, folk who are widely known at the instant they are working, but their work is not of lasting fame. (Apologies to big F-Troop fans. I think it was a couple of years before my time.)

Aw, Sarge! Say it ain’t so!

I definitely remember him from F Troop. I was glad when MeTV ran it a few years ago and I could watch it all over again.

As well as ‘Leggo of my Eggo.’

Ken Barry volunteered to serve in the Army, and was an accomplished tap dancer.

F-Troop was an incredibly funny show. Another piece of my childhood gone.

It’s funny; while I certainly remember Ken Berry from F-Troop, I never associated him exclusively with that show. Rather, it seemed like he was one of those guys who was everywhere. He guest-starred on The Carol Burnett Show quite a bit. He was in Disney movies. He did advertisements for Kinney shoes for years. He even showed up on The Dick Van Dyke Show a few times in a recurring role. For a while, he was ubiquitous, and he always struck me as too versatile to be identified with any one project.

I read in one of his obituaries about how he was puzzled that after Mama’s Family, the phone seemed to stop ringing. I wonder if that was because he was getting older, or if a new generation of casting directors only knew him from that (let’s face it) fairly routine sitcom, and didn’t realize all the other things he could do. At any rate, he doesn’t seem to have worked much after that, which is too bad.

It’s true I haven’t thought much about him in years, but I will miss him nonetheless.

I didn’t know this. According to Wikipedia, he was assigned to Special Services under Leonard Nimoy and spent his time performing. There’s an impressive video in the link below of his dancing.


Here is a YouTube clip of an incredible dance routine of his. Followed by most of the routine in slow motion, so you can really see exactly what he’s doing, and how much talent it took.

The 2nd thing, for me, that comes to mind was him being on Mary. The 1978 MTM variety show that lasted all of 3 episodes. So memorable in a really bad way.

The skit players early on were put in front of the camera and said a little bit about themselves. For Hampton it was that he had been the bugler on F Troop.

The other players included Swoosie Kurtz, Dick Shawn, Michael Keaton, David Letterman and Letterman’s later romantic and Late Night partner Merrill Markoe. The good news for Hampton were the amazing talents on the show. The bad news …

Terrible writing and production. E.g., they tried to have Letterman and Keaton do dance numbers.

3 episodes.

I remember seeing him doing a Gay '90s* themed dance routine on The Carol Burnett Show in 1969 or '70, I think it was. Up to then, I’d known him only as Capt Wilton Parmenter, and that guy who took over from Andy Griffith. It’s easy to see his inspirations were Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, since he made every step look so completely effortless and natural.

*It had different connotations then than it would today. :rolleyes:

It took real talent to make Captain Parmenter look so clumsy on F Troop.