"Band of Brothers" leader Richard Winters dies

Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:53pm EST
 
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By Jon Hurdle

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Richard Winters, leader of a U.S. Army infantry company made famous by HBO cable TV's World War Two series "Band of Brothers," has died at the age of 92, colleagues and media executives said on Monday.

Winters, who lived in Hershey, Pennsylvania, died on January 2 after a battle with Parkinson's Disease, said Quentin Schaffer, a spokesman for HBO.

Winters led Easy Company, part of the Army's 101st Airborne Division, which landed at Omaha Beach in northern France during the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944.

The series, produced by Stephen Spielberg and actor Tom Hanks, was first aired in 2001, and focused on Winters, played by Damien Lewis, and Easy Company.

Richard Plepler, co-president of HBO, said that during the making of the series, Winters showed both dignity and humility, qualities that had allowed him to shine as a leader during the massive amphibious assault that helped to end World War Two.

"He said he was not the hero, but he served in a company of heroes," Plepler said.

Winters was initially concerned about a plan to show the world premiere of the series to 46 surviving members of Easy Company at Utah Beach on June 6, 2001, but finally agreed to it, Plepler said.

"He was a little bit chary about the possible emotional impact of bringing everybody back to the scene," Plepler said. "I don't think anyone stopped crying for a couple of days."

The HBO series was based on a book of the same name by the late historian Stephen Ambrose.

(Reporting by Jon Hurdle, editing by Greg McCune and Eric Beech)