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Lynn D. “Buck” Compton, the World War II veteran who was portrayed by actor Neal McDonough in the HBO mini-series Band of Brothers, passed away on Feb. 25 at the age of 90.
Compton became famous in his eighties because of Band of Brothers, the 2001 mini-series based on the 1992 book by historian Stephen Ambrose that chronicled the journey of Easy Company from the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. Both the book and mini-series followed the soldiers from training at Fort Toccoa in Georgia through D-Day and the Battle of Bulge to their capture of Hitler’s retreat Berchtesgaden at the end of the war.
Compton was winningly portrayed by Neal McDonough (Boomtown, Justified) as a good soldier and inspiring leader. The actor said he spoke with Compton for hours on end during filming to get the details right and he was so impressed by the man that he nicknamed his son Morgan “Buck.” McDonough and three other stars of the show attended Compton’s 90th birthday party in January.
After the mini-series the still-living veterans of Easy Company became mini-celebrities in their own right. Compton said he was flattered and embarrassed by the attention. “We didn’t expect anything more than those other guys. We’re celebrating longevity more than anything.”
Compton won a Purple Heart and a Silver Star for his service.
After World War II, Compton joined the Los Angeles Police Department and attended Loyola Law School at night. He joined the L.A. district attorney’s office in 1951.
His most famous case was the successful prosecution of Sirhan Sirhan for the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel on June 5, 1968, just as the senator learned he had won the California Democratic presidential primary.
Governor Ronald Reagan appointed Compton to California’s 2nd District Court of Appeals in 1970 , where he was known for his conservative views. He retired in 1990.
Lynn Compton was born in Los Angeles on Dec. 31. 1921. He was a basketball and football star at UCLA, playing in the 1943 Rose Bowl. He was in ROTC at UCLA and became an active serviceman in February 1943.
Compton is survived by two daughters and four grandchildren. His wife Donna passed away in 1994.
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