Cotton Hill
Name Cotton Lyndal Hill
Gender Male
Hair Gray (formerly brown)
Age 75 (Deceased)
Job U.S. Army Veteran, temporary military school principal, bathroom attendant, former supervisor of asbestos installation
Relatives Tilly Garrison (ex-wife)
Didi Hill (widow)
Junichiro (first son)
Hank Hill (second son)
Good Hank Hill (third son)
Bobby Hill (grandson)
Dusty Hill (nephew)
Unnamed brother (brother) Peggy Hill (daughter-in-law)
First appearance Pilot and Square Peg

Shins of the Father

Voiced by Toby Huss

Colonel Cotton Lyndal Hill (born September 15, 1927) was the father of Hank Hill, Good "G.H." Hank Hill, and Junichiro (his illegitimate half-Japanese son). He was also a WWII veteran who had his shins "blowed off by a Japanman's machine gun" in combat, and later had his feet attached to his knees. This made him a foot shorter than his fellow family members and caused a characteristic waddle (according to Hank, Cotton was 6'3" (1.90 m) with his shins, and 5'3" (1.60 m) without). Despite his disability, he eventually reached the rank of Colonel in the Texas State Militia and was often addressed by this rank.

Military service

Cotton was zealously proud of his military service record and his status as a war hero, although he tended to exaggerate his exploits. He claims he killed "fitty (50) men" during the war. He consistently reminded everyone within earshot about how he lost his shins during WWll:

"I was 14, just a little older than Bobby. But I knew Uncle Sam needed me, so I lied and signed up. We had beat the Nazzy's in Italy, and they shipped us to the Pacific theater. A Tojo torpedo sent our troop ship to the bottom. I could only save three of my buddies: Fatty, Stinky, and Brooklyn. They were kind of like you fellas [to Bill, Dale, and Boomhauer], only one of them was from Brooklyn. Out of the sun came a Tojo Zero and put fitty bullets in my back. The blood attracted sharks. I had to give 'em Fatty. Then things took a turn for the worse. I made it to an island, but it was full of Tojos! They were spitting on the U.S. flag! So I rushed 'em, but it was a trap. They opened fire and blew my shins off. Last thing I remember, I beat 'em all to death with a big piece of Fatty. I woke up in a field hospital, and they were sewing my feet to my knees."

He referred to the Japanese as "Tojos," a slur not unlike "Jap" and doubtless deriving from war-time Japanese Prime Minister and General Hideki Tojo. He would also refer to the Nazis as "Nazzys."

In a third season episode, Hank says Cotton is 75. He also claimed to have fought in both Munich and Okinawa within days of each other, but later admitted to not fighting in Munich.

Based upon Cotton's uniform in "Returning Japanese," he earned the following military decorations: Medal of Honor, Purple Heart, Silver Star, and American Campaign Medal. In "When Cotton Comes Marching Home," his Silver Star is displayed in a case at the VFW.

Cotton states in a sixth season episode that he served with the U.S. Army's 77th Infantry Division.

He also tells many stories about his service (although many of them may be untrue or exaggerated):

Solomon Islands

In Cotton's Plot, he tells Peggy a story about his service on the Solomon Islands, where his unit was pinned down by Japanese machine gun fire, so he snuck into a Japanese fifty-five gallon drum of saké, and then, when the Japanese were drunk, he spit it all out into his lighter, and "hibachi'd" the whole squad.


In the episode Yankee Hankee, Cotton said he served on Guadalcanal with his buddy Stinky, and it rained for 17 days.


On January 30, 1944, Cotton said he and his unit invaded Anzio, and they caught the Krauts "with their pants down and their schnitzel exposed". He said they captured the beach by noon, and the town by nightfall.


Cotton said he climbed the cliffs of Normandy with a fifty-pound ice cream maker on his back in Cotton's Plot.


In When Cotton Comes Marching Home Again, Cotton claims to have led a platoon of men through the jungles of Saipan.


In 1944, Cotton claims to have been on Guam, and crawled through a minefield to retrieve General MacArthur's corn cob pipe. This story was told in Cotton's Plot.


Cotton said that he served on the Philippines in Unfortunate Son.

Iwo Jima

In Revenge of the Lutefisk, Cotton claims to have spent two weeks under a pile of bodies on Iwo Jima. Also, in Unfortunate Son, he and Topsy demonstrate a bayonet technique Topsy used to gut a kamikazee on Iwo Jima. What is worth noting is that the United States Marine Corps, not the Army, fought against Japanese forces during the Battle of Iwo Jima.


In Cotton's Plot, Cotton claims to have fought in Munich on April 30, 1945, but later realizes he didn't.


Cotton says that he served on Okinawa in Cotton's Plot, and on May 2, 1945, he invented a bayonet technique that the army still uses today.

P.O.W. Camp

Cotton was captured at an unknown time by the Japanese, and put in a bamboo rat cage. He had to eat rats, but let the last one live so he could eat its droppings. He called it "Jungle Rice", and said it "tasted fine". By September, he was skinny enough to slip through the bars, and strangled the guard with a string made of braided rat tails, and ran to safety (Cotton's Plot). He had also learned to stop his heartbeat, so the Japanese would stop torturing him for a moment, probably at the P.O.W. camp (Death Picks Cotton), and claimed that he only cried when the Japanese tore off his fingernails (Returning Japanese).


Cotton severed the windpipe of a German corporal with a two foot strand of dental floss he kept in his boot (The Final Shinsult). He survived on a life raft by trapping rain water in his upturned eye lid (Cotton's Plot). He killed a high ranking German officer and took his helmet as a souvenir which he later used to cut Hank's hair and claims Hank cried more when he cut his ear than the officer when he killed him (Hank's Bad Hairday).

Awards and decorations

In the episode "Returning Japanese" Cotton is shown in full military dress and is shown wearing the American Campaign Medal, Purple Heart, Silver Star, and the Medal of Honor. The Medal of Honor is the American military's highest honor.


Not much is known about Cotton after the war until the present. He was an insulation contractor and made good money doing it since he owned a "Cadillac car". His son Hank was born sometime in 1954 at a baseball game in Yankee Stadium in New York City. Cotton had planned to assassinate Fidel Castro with a poison dart, who was attending, by using his pregnant wife as a way to get past security. The shot missed and the assassination attempt failed, and Mrs. Hill had to give birth in the stadium's bathroom. His birth location was a carefully guarded secret, until Hank found out when he tried to find his birth certificate to get a "Born in Texas" license plate, which neither Cotton nor Hank's mother claimed to have (Yankee Hankie). He was a longtime member of the Arlen VFW and served as its commanding officer.

Family Relationships

His second wife was a hospital volunteer Deirdre "Didi" Hill, who is around the same age as Hank. Hank and Didi went to kindergarten together (according to episode 1-08, "Shins of the Father").

Cotton's relationship with Hank was strained; while Hank seemed to have a deep reverence (and fear) of his father, he stood up to Cotton on several occasions. Cotton also became depressed (and enraged) by the fact that he and Hank did not have a good relationship, once going homicidally insane when Hank said that he hates him. In spite of all this, however, Cotton never hesitated to refer to Hank as "My Boy," and on several occasions tried to help him (such as when Kahn and Minh were befouling his house).

Interestingly enough, Cotton appears to have a good relationship with Bobby. It can be assumed that Cotton tries to make up for his own strained relationship with his son by having a close relationship with his grandson. He once conceded that Hank was a better father than himself, stating to Hank "You made Bobby. I only made you." Cotton shows that he is proud of Bobby and supports him. Once contemplating suicide, Cotton confides in Bobby and gives him a letter of recommendation for the army and thus irking Hank. Cotton often tries to pass on his misogynistic views to Bobby, even going so far as to try to buy him a hooker once, although Hank and Peggy are always able to reverse the damage. Cotton demonstrates his affection for Bobby in numerous instances. In "How to Fire a Rifle Without Really Trying", he comes to watch Bobby and Hank shoot in a father-son shooting competition, stating, "I'm always here to support my Bobby." In "Revenge of the Lutefisk", Cotton even goes so far as to take the blame for Bobby after Bobby confesses he was the one who burned down the church and Didi reveals to Bobby that Cotton told her that if their unborn child turned out as good as Bobby, he wouldn't abandon it. In "Death Picks Cotton" Hank stated that, "My dad doesn't love a lot of things, but he does love Bobby."

Cotton may or may not have a high sperm count. Cotton has fathered three (known of) boys, first being Junichiro from a love affair in Japan during the war with a Japanese nurse named Michiko. The second being Hank, from his first marriage, to Tilly Garrison (Hill). Then the third being with his second wife Didi, when he was well into his seventies, which is uncommon and was also (as told by Cotton) conceived through two condoms. It's also odd that while Cotton has a great talent in fathering children, his first two children have trouble conceiving as they have narrow urethras, so the chances of his third having it is high.


Cotton weighs 180 lbs.

Cotton was consistently a chauvinistic, violent, abusive and intolerant character. He talked down to women, berated his son, was prone to violent outbursts, and, on more than one occasion, has exhibited homicidal tendencies. His abrasive, misogynistic manner was consistently embarrassing for Hank and usually infuriating for Hank’s wife, Peggy. Throughout his history on the series, Cotton never once addressed Peggy by name, but he instead called her "Hank’s wife", which was used as a running gag, including on the very rare occasion he's trying to be nice to her ("Cotton's Plot"). He even passed on some of his sexist and misogynistic traits to Bobby at one point, teaching him that women should be made to cook and clean for their husbands all day long.

On rare occasions, Cotton showed a vulnerable side that he normally kept hidden: he realizes that he was a terrible father, hates himself for growing old and becoming disabled, and readily admits that he would die to protect his grandson, Bobby, after being accused of burning down the Arlen First Methodist Church. ("Revenge of the Lutefisk")

Cotton also demonstrated a rough, demanding and often abusive but at times inspirational leadership. He admits to Hank that he always wanted to win in battle, but accepted defeat when his men did their best. Through tough love and intense, physical therapy, Cotton also helped Peggy walk again after a debilitating skydiving accident. Hank was initially wary of this, because he feared that Cotton was simply taking advantage of Peggy's brief disability in order to humiliate her.

Cotton is very patriotic and considers himself superior to others for his sacrifice in World War II. He still views German and Japanese people with hostility, even threatening someone with a bayonetted rifle for owning a Japanese car. When Cotton was selling a Nazi canoe, he was upset that the buyer was going to remove the swastika, but only because Cotton had a lot of pride in stealing the boat and wanted to keep its authenticity. Cotton also seems to have a healed relationship with the Japanese, receiving an award from the Emperor of Japan himself and telling him: "...I took fitty of your boys. You tooks my shins. But we can move past that now." However, Cotton still seems to have violent flashbacks to his times fighting in WWII.

It was never revealed throughout the series how Cotton became such a nasty and rude character, or if he ever was a different person. It is most likely his childhood (the only things known about Cotton's childhood are: that he started out with a gun at an early age according to Hank in the episode "How to Fire A Rifle Without Really Trying", that he attended Fort Birk when he was very young and spent much of his childhood there as he reveled in "An Officer and A Gentle Boy", that he apparently joined the army when he was only 14 years old, and that Cotton's mother apparently died giving birth to him, as he exaggerates in "Death Picks Cotton"). Almost nothing is known about Cotton's father, except that he may have been German, as Peggy tells Bobby in the episode "Tears of an Inflatable Clown", and it is possible that Cotton's father may have also been a war hero who may have served in the First World War and is the one who inspired Cotton to become one himself. The only time Cotton ever himself refers to his father during the entire series is when he shouts at Hank: "You ain't my daddy, I'm your daddy!" Cotton also has an unnamed brother (Dusty's father). Cotton has shown on multiple episodes that he suffers from mild to severe post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) ("Returning Japanese" & "Death Picks Cotton") which can explain for majority of his "violent outbursts". Whatever the reason is, Cotton never sought recognition for how he treated Hank, Peggy, Tilly and many others throughout the series. In the episode "Hank gets Dusted" Hank says straight up to his cousin Dusty that Cotton is in fact a jack-ass


In "Death Picks Cotton," Cotton is badly injured at a Japanese steakhouse. While climbing onto a grill table, Cotton slips and suffers burns, a hip fracture, and torn ligaments in his knees/ankles. He is also diagnosed with an infection of the esophagus after ingesting a piece of shrimp (to which he's highly allergic). It is also discovered that Cotton had four, rusty bullets in his back (one of which was in his heart). While in the hospital, Cotton also suffers a heart attack, but somehow survives. He stays alive long enough to torment Hank and Peggy by slowing his heart rate and mimicking death (a trick he learned in a Japanese POW camp to escape torture).

While Peggy is visiting with Cotton, she states that she hopes Cotton could live forever in the friendless, spiteful existence he created for himself. Cotton replies, rather deviously, "Do you now?" before he lets out a maniacal laugh and dies immediately after. Hank comes into the room soon after. Peggy doesn't tell Hank of the final exchange they had, but she instead lies and tells Hank that Cotton spoke kindly of him.

The final scene of the episode shows Hank, Bill, Boomhauer, and Dale gathered in Hank's backyard, in front of a newly-finished shed, which Dale promptly blows up, as per requested by Cotton. A separate deathbed request by Cotton to have his head detached from his body and mailed to the emperor of Japan is not honored; Hank planned to honor the request until Peggy lied to him and said Cotton had rescinded it right before his death. Neither Didi nor G.H. appear in the episode, nor is his painting shown.

Fox published the following obituary for Cotton:

Arlen Bystander (Arlen, TX): Cotton Hill, age unknown, World War II veteran, died Sunday in a Texas VA hospital. Hill suffered from several injuries ranging from four rusty bullets lodged in his heart from his military service, a broken hip and torn ligaments in his ankle-knees, to an infection in his esophagus and severe burns caused by a freak shrimp accident that occurred earlier this week at Tokyaki's Japanese restaurant. Hill leaves behind sons Hank Hill and G.H. (short for "Good Hank"); daughter-in-law Peggy Hill; grandson Bobby Hill; ex-wife Tilly; second wife Didi; first love and former Japanese lover Michiko; an illegitimate Japanese son, Junichiro; and nephew Dusty Hill (of band ZZ Top).


In "Serves Me Right for Giving General George S. Patton the Bathroom Key," Hank receives a box of his father's old possessions from Didi, who reveals that she is engaged to a wealthy professional wrestler. Hank reads through the list of insane tasks, the last of which is flushing his father's ashes down a toilet which George S. Patton once used (which contradicts an earlier episode where Cotton, with Peggy's help, successfully fought to be buried in the Texas State Cemetery). Hank follows through with the deed.


  • Cotton is seen to have a good eye as he was able to tell Kahn was Laotian at first sight, where it was a running gag early in the show that everyone believe he was Chinese or Japanese.
  • Some episodes seem to have implied that Cotton had a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or a condition of the like. For example, in "Next of Shin," his fear and insecurity of becoming a father again combined with visions of seeing babies as Nazis and Japanese soldiers. In "Death Picks Cotton," he gets another flashback, this time only mentally heard as aerial bombs, while watching the Spanish-speaking chef prepare a dish with salt and pepper mills (that he claimed were "Tojo wampum sticks").
  • Cotton had Peggy secure him a grave spot in the Texas State Cemetery. However, several seasons later, his will instructed his son Hank to flush his cremated ashes down a toilet once used by George S. Patton as a tradition among his war buddies, causing a bit of a continuity snarl. Although this could be Cotton messing with Peggy.
  • If Cotton has a nephew (Dusty), it is stated by Cotton in "Hank Gets Dusted" that ZZ-Top member Dusty is "his brother's son". This would make Cotton, Dusty's father's fictional brother.
  • He seems to be stronger than Hank as in "Nine Pretty Darn Angry Men," he pushed the door aside when Hank tried to close it.
  • In the second episode of "Returning Japanese," Cotton claims to have slept with 273 women. Given his penchant for prostitutes, this could be true. This would mean Hank and Junichiro probably have more half siblings (possibly in different races) considering that cotton does not have a narrow urethra stopping him from reproducing.  
  • Although never actually referenced or revealed, Cotton's "Cadillac car" appears to be a 1969 Cadillac coupe De-Ville*
  • He killed fiddy men! (Meaning that he killed fifty [50] men in WWII)
  • It is possible that Cotton's dislike for Hank is directly due to his dislike for Tilly (Hank's mother). This can be seen through his love for G.H. and his pride in Junichiro despite having never met him before.