A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Richard Compton began his career in the early 1960s making government movies for the United States Information Agency. His debut feature, The French Way, was never released in America. Compton followed this film with the biker movie Angels Die Hard, the first film to be released by Roger Corman's New World Pictures. Compton then made the Vietnam-themed Welcome Home, Soldier Boys. He scored his biggest hit with the cult classic Macon County Line. Its unexpected box-office success begat a handful of similar Southern-set films such as Jackson County Jail, A Small Town in Texas and Nightmare in Badham County.
In the early 1980s, Compton began directing more frequently for television. He made made-for-TV movies and directed numerous episodes of such series as Peacemakers, JAG, 'he Lone Gunmen, Charmed, Sliders, Profiler, Babylon 5, L.A. Law, The Commish, Home Improvement, Bay Watch, Miami Vice, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Equalizer, Hill Street Blues, Hotel and T.J. Hooker. Compton also did some acting in the 60s and 70s; his acting credits include guest spots on two episodes of the original Star Trek and Wanda, the Sadistic Hypnotist. He was married to actress Veronica Cartwright.
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