Thickset, affable African-American character player, who died just as he was reaching the top rung, but during whose career he displayed a wide versatility -- easily adaptable to playing judge or thug, military man or executive. Hancock is best recalled as the Coast Guard cook who teaches teen-age Alex Haley how to be a man in the ABC miniseries "Roots: The Next Generations" (ABC), and in his final role, opposite Susan Dey in the CBS sitcom "Love and War" (CBS). He was oft recognized by the public for his frequent appearances as a judge on the NBC series "L.A. Law" in the 80s, including the award-winning episode in which animal activists were on trial and clips of animals gnawing off legs caught in traps were shown. Hancock got his first break appearing in the TV movie "The Monk" (1969), after which he began landing supporting roles in such films as "The In-Laws" (1979), "All the Marbles" (1981), Norman Jewison's faithful adaptation of Charles Fuller's "A Soldier's Story" (1984), as a mess sergeant proud of his peach cobbler in "Tank" (1984), and as a figure loosely modeled on Al Sharpton in Brian De Palma's disastrous "Bonfire of the Vanities" (1990). Hancock first had a regular series with the short-lived NBC cliffhanger serial "Stop Susan Williams" (1979), in which he was Gold Tooth, the henchman. In 1980, he was a regular on CBS' "Palmerstown USA," then had a recurring role on "Duck Man" (CBS, 1984), as father to Clarence Gilyard, and appeared as Lt. Delaney on ABC's "Hardcastle & McCormick" series for one season, 1984-85. He played Chicken, the rib joint owner, on "Houston Knights" (CBS, 1987-88) and a very full-of-himself deputy police commissioner on NBC's "Pacific Station" (1991-92).