‘Band of Brothers’ soldier dies at 90 in Wash.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
BURLINGTON, Wash. (AP) — Lynn D. “Buck” Compton, a veteran whose World War II exploits were depicted in the HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers,” has died, his family said.
Compton died Saturday in Burlington, Wash., after having a heart attack last month, the family told the Los Angeles Times in a story Tuesday.
In January, nearly 200 guests, including actors from the miniseries, attended his 90th birthday party.
Lynn Compton also is remembered for his legal career in California. He headed the team that prosecuted Sirhan B. Sirhan for the slaying of Robert F. Kennedy and was appointed to the 2nd District Court of Appeal in 1970 by Gov. Ronald Reagan. He retired from the bench in 1990.
He was awarded a Silver Star and a Purple Heart during World War II. But it wasn’t until later in life that he became famous for his military service as a first lieutenant in Easy Company after the unit parachuted into France on D-Day in 1944. Historian Stephen E. Ambrose’s 1992 best seller about the unit was made into the 2001 TV series.
“His career as a prosecutor and a judge overrode his military career until ‘Band of Brothers’ came out, and then it just went crazy,” daughter Syndee Compton said.
Compton was embarrassed by the attention at his birthday party at Skagit Regional Airport that was attended by children of other Band of Brothers veterans.
The guests included “Band of Brothers” actors Michael Cudlitz, James Madio, Richard Speight Jr. and Neal McDonough, who portrayed Compton in the miniseries.
McDonough recalled meeting with Compton the day before he flew to London to begin filming “Band of Brothers,” and later peppering him with questions about his time during the war.
“When you play a historical figure, you have to do it right and tell the truth,” McDonough told the Times, recalling Compton told him he was just doing his job.
Tracy Compton said her father thought McDonough did a wonderful job portraying him and “he laughed and said Neal was better-looking than he ever was.”
Compton was born in Los Angeles on Dec. 31, 1921. He majored in physical education and minored in education at UCLA, where he lettered in football and baseball. He started at guard in the 1943 Rose Bowl game against Georgia and was selected all-conference catcher while captain of the baseball team in 1942.
He also participated in the ROTC program and entered active service in February 1943 at age 21.
After the war, he became a Los Angeles police officer and worked his way through Loyola Law School. He was a detective in the Central Burglary Division before joining the district attorney’s office in 1951. He was assistant district attorney when District Attorney Evelle J. Younger chose him as his chief deputy in 1966.
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