Richard Compton

Richard Compton

Birthday: March 2, 1938
Born Place: Akron, Ohio, USA
Birth Name: Richard Bethel Compher

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Writer/director/producer Richard Compton was born on March 2, 1938, in Philadelphia, PA. He began his career in the early 1960s making government propaganda movies for the United States Information Agency. His debut feature “The French Way”, was never released in America. Compton followed this film with the nifty biker flick Angels Die Hard (1970), which was the first movie to be released by Roger Corman’s New World Pictures. Compton then did the excellent and unjustly overlooked psycho Vietnam veterans exploitation winner Welcome Home, Soldier Boys (1971). He scored his biggest hit with the outstanding cult classic Macon County Line (1974); the unexpected enormous box-office success of this movie begot a handful of similar Southern-fried “don’t go down to Dixie” drive-in pictures, which include Jackson County Jail (1976), A Small Town in Texas (1976), and Nightmare in Badham County (1976). Both the tepid semi-sequel Return to Macon County (1975) starring then-unknowns Nick Nolte and Don Johnson and the strictly so-so post-nuke sci-fi survivalist opus Ravagers (1979) were regrettably mediocre, although Assault in Paradise (1977) was a solid and gripping thriller. In the early 1980s Compton began directing more and more for television; he’s done several made-for-TV pictures and numerous episodes of such TV shows as Peacemakers (2003), JAG (1995), The Lone Gunmen (2001), Charmed (1998), Sliders (1995), Profiler (1996), Babylon 5 (1993), L.A. Law (1986), The Commish (1991), Home Improvement (1991), Baywatch (1989), Miami Vice (1984), Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), The Equalizer (1985), Hill Street Blues (1981), Hotel (1983) and T.J. Hooker (1982).

Compton also did some acting in the 1960s and ’70s; his acting credits include guest spots on two episodes of the original Star Trek: The Original Series (1966) TV show and the enjoyably trashy The Sadistic Hypnotist (1969). He was married to actress Veronica Cartwright. He died at age 69 on August 11, 2007.

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