Edward Shames Dies: ‘Band Of Brothers’ Last Real-Life Surviving Officer Was 99

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Colonel Edward Shames, the last surviving officer from the World War II paratroopers that inspired an HBO series, died Friday at age 99. He passed at home, according to a message posted by his funeral home.

Band of Brothers was a miniseries that first aired in 2001. It was based on historian Stephen E. Ambrose’s 1992 non-fiction book of the same name. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks collaborated to create the miniseries, which went on to win Emmy and Golden Globe awards.

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Named “Easy” Company, the 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infrantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division saw major action in Europe during World War II. The series characters were based on the real-life people chronicled in Ambrose’s book. Excerpts from the interviews in the book were part of the HBO episodes, but the real-life people were not identified until the series end.

Shames’s death leaves 97-year-old Bradford Freeman as the last surviving member of Easy Company.

Shames was portrayed by British actor Joseph May in the HBO series. He is survived by sons Douglas and Steven, four grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.

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