Forrest Compton, who appeared in The Twilight Zone and the classic daytime soap opera The Edge of Night, has died due to complications from a coronavirus infection. He was 94. According to the Shelter Island Reporter, Compton's died on Sunday, April 5th as was confirmed by close friends of the actor. Compton had retired from acting in 2002 after a multi-decade career.
Compton was born on September 15, 1925 in Reading, Pennsylvania and, after high school, served in the 103rd Infantry Division during World War II. After the war, he attended Swarthmore College where he began acting in school productions before going on to earn a Master of Fine arts from the Yale School of Drama where he became friends with Paul Newman.
"He was a great guy, charming, sharp, six months older than me," Compton told the Shelter Island Reporter in 2019 while reflecting on his career. "I remember Paul making salad dressing back then. Once the agents saw Paul and those blue eyes and his charm, he was on television a month later."
As for his own television career, Compton had wide variety of roles. He played Col. Edward Gray on Gomer Pyle: USMC, a character who regularly had harsh words for Sgt. Vince Carter (played by Frank Sutton) who had usually maltreated Jim Neighbors' Private Gomer Pyle. He later went onto play district attorney Mike Karr, the central character on the long-running soap opera The Edge of Night. He was the third actor to play the role, appearing on the series from 1970 until the series ended in 1984.
Compton's other television credits include The Twilight Zone, 77 Sunset Strip, My Three Sons, Mayberry RFD, Mannix, Hogan's Heroes, That Girl, Another World, Loving, One Life to Live, As the World Turns, and Ed. Compton also appeared in the 1991 film McBain which starred Christopher Walken.
Compton's The Edge of Night costar Sharon Gabet took to Facebook (via SoapHub) to remember the actor, calling him a "master professional."
"Woody,' as [Forrest] was affectionately known to all of us on The Edge of Night, was a master professional, hilarious, smart, kind and gentle,” Sharon Gabet (Raven) posted on Facebook. “I spoke with him a couple years ago on his birthday and he was active and happy in his retirement.0comments
“Rest in peace, Woody, and give hugs and kisses to Larkin [Malloy; Sky], Lois [Kibbee; Geraldine], Dennis [Parker; Derek], Nick [Nicholson; executive producer], Joel [Crothers; Miles], Irving [Allen Lee; Calvin] and all the other EDGE alumni up there,” she wrote.
Photo credit: Walt Disney Television via Getty Images