News

Band of Brothers vet William Guarnere dies at 90

Written by Tim Lambert and The Associated Press | Mar 10, 2014 5:07 AM
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Photo by Tim Lambert/witf

William "Wild Bill" Guarnere (R) and actor John Frank Hughes (L) at an event in Lancaster in June 2011.

(Philadelphia) -- William ``Wild Bill'' Guarnere, one of the World War II veterans whose exploits were dramatized in the TV miniseries `"Band of Brothers,'' has died at the age of 90.

Guarnere's son, William Guarnere Jr., confirms his father died at Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.

The south Philadelphia native was rushed to the hospital early Saturday and died of a ruptured aneurysm early Saturday night.

Guarnere was a staff sergeant with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. In 2007, he authored a book, Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends, with close friend Edward "Babe" Hefron and journalist Robyn Post.

The HBO miniseries was based on a book by Stephen Ambrose and followed the members of Easy Company from training in Georgia in 1942 through the war's end in 1945. It included the story of Major Richard Winters of Hershey, who led Guarnere and a handful of other paratroopers on an attack on four German guns at Brecort Manor on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Guarnere was awarded the Silver Star for his role in the assault.

His combat exploits earned him the nickname Wild Bill. Guarnere served in Operation Market Garden during the invasion of Holland and lost a leg trying to help a wounded solider at the Battle of the Bulge.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete.

Actor John Frank Hughes talks about the challenge of playing Wild Bill Guarnere in the HBO mini-series Band of Brothers. Hughes was at a 2011 fundraising event in Lancaster, PA, on June 6, 2011

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