From The New Movie Album: An Autographed Who's Who of the Screen (1931)
"My father, Virgil K. Compson, was a graduate of Cornell and a mining engineer in Utah where I was born. I was the type of child who sang songs, recited and gave pantomimes for my mother and father. Later in high school I studied dramatics and played in short plays. My parents wanted me to be a musician so I studied the violin for seven years under George E. Skelton who is still teaching in Salt Lake City. Fortunately for me I did this, because when I was fifteen my father died and I was forced to work. After playing in an orchestra in a vaudeville theatre in Salt Lake City, I had the opportunity to substitute for a missing vaudeville act, and afterwards went on tour playing the violin in a single act. When we reached San Francisco, my act was dropped from the bill, and I took a position taking care of a child while my mother cooked. We were very poor. After many more experiences than could fit into this brief space, I landed in pictures. There, too, I have had my ups and downs and contrary to opinion my comeback in pictures was not due to talking pictures. On the strength of my performance in 'The Barker,' I was cast in two silent pictures. During 1929, I played in eleven talking pictures--more than any other player. I do not like poverty and I dislike spoiled children because I have known both."