BURBANK, Calif. — Ken Berry, an actor and dancer who played the affable and clumsy Capt. Wilton Parmenter in the 1960s sitcom “F Troop,” has died. He was 85.
Berry died Saturday at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California, hospital spokeswoman Patricia Aidem said. The cause of death was not provided by Berry’s family.
“F Troop” was on the air with new episodes only from 1965 to 1967, but the show lived on in syndication, and the accident-prone Capt. Parmenter became one of Berry’s best-known roles.
After “F Troop,” Berry went to on to star in “Mayberry R.F.D.,” a spinoff of “The Andy Griffith Show,” on which Berry appeared during the show’s final year.
Berry’s co-star in “F Troop,” Larry Storch, said on Facebook that his friend’s passing was “devastating.”
“We are at a true loss for words,” the post read. “Ken, we hope you know how much you were loved. Goodnight Captain. We miss you already.”
Berry married actress Jackie Joseph-Lawrence in 1960. They divorced in 1976 but remained good friends.
“I’m feeling so much love and gratitude for the affection and kindness expressed by Ken’s friends and admirers,” Joseph-Lawrence said on her Facebook page. She also expressed gratitude for Susie Walsh, “Ken’s dear partner for the last 26 years, for bringing him laughter and devotion and care.”
Berry’s last television series was “Mama’s Family,” which aired for six seasons beginning in 1983.
But “F Troop” — remembered by some people as much for the catchy song it opened with, explaining how Capt. Parmenter bungled his way into being in charge — was the show that remained closest to Berry’s heart.
“I have never been that happy in my life,” Berry once said, according to The Hollywood Reporter .
Berry is survived by his daughter, Jennifer Kate. His son, John Kenneth, died in 2016.
The ‘F Troop’ song
Many remember the show by the song each episode opened with. Here’s how it began, explaining how Ken Berry’s character came to be in charge:
“The end of the Civil War was near
When quite accidentally,
A hero who sneezed abruptly seized
Retreat and reversed it to victory.
“His medal of honor pleased and thrilled
his proud little family group.
While pinning it on some blood was spilled
And so it was planned he’d command F Troop.”