WWII Veteran, Star of 'Gomer Pyle' Dies at 94 After Coronavirus Diagnosis

Forrest Compton starred as Lt. Col. Edward Gray on "Gomer Pyle: U.S.M.C."

Forrest Compton, an Army veteran who earned his greatest fame playing Marine Lt. Col. Edward Gray on "Gomer Pyle: U.S.M.C.," has died at aged 94 from complications related to a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Compton's character, Gray, fought at Iwo Jima and always saw the qualities that made Gomer a good Marine. That, of course, meant he could see right through Gunnery Sgt. Vince Carter (awesomely played by Frank Sutton); Gray often chewed out the gunny for his refusal to see the big picture.

In real life, Compton served with the U.S. Army's 103rd Infantry Division in France during World War II and attended Swarthmore College and the Yale School of Drama after the war. He had a long run over a dozen years playing district attorney Mike Karr on the daytime soap opera "The Edge of Night."

Compton, unlike many actors of his generation, seemed to embrace his career as a television actor. His dozens of credits include roles on "Mannix," "The F.B.I.," "Hogan's Heroes," "77 Sunset Strip" and "The Twilight Zone" but only two movies: Iwo Jima drama "The Outsider" (1961) and the Christopher Walken thriller "McBain" (1991).

The actor retired in 2002 and spent the remainder of his life in Shelter Island, New York. He died there on April 6.

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