Actor Scott Wilson, known for his role as Hershel Greene on The Walking Dead in addition to many others from his storied career, passed away on October 6, 2018, following a battle with leukemia. He was 76 years old.
Born William Delano Wilson in 1942 in a small town in Georgia, he entered his acting career in his mid-20s, with his debut role being that of a murder suspect in 1967’s In the Heat of the Night. Later that year he co-starred with Robert Blake in In Cold Blood, the adaptation of the Truman Capote book of the same name. In Cold Blood director Richard Brooks cast Wilson and Blake in the roles specifically because they were unknown actors at the time; their performances were both received well, and the film received four Academy Award nominations.
He later appeared as George Wilson in 1974’s The Great Gatsby, alongside Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. In 1980 his performance in The Ninth Configuration was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor. He appeared in a number of other films throughout the ’70s and ’80s, including The Grissom Gang, The Passover Plot, The Right Stuff, A Year of the Quiet Sun, The Aviator, and others. Wilson received attention for his role in 1995’s Dead Man Walking as well.
On television, Wilson primarily appeared in TV films in the ’80s and ’90s, though he did appear in shows such as the 1980s Twilight Zone revival as well as The X-Files. His first recurring television role came on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation as Sam Braun, a big casino boss and father of Catherine Willows. It wasn’t until he joined The Walking Dead in 2011 that he had a regular role on a television series.
His portrayal of Hershel in the AMC series was critically acclaimed, especially as the character took on a far bigger role in the show than in the comic book. Wilson appeared in seasons 2-4 of the show, with the character being killed off in the mid-season finale “Too Far Gone.” He has appeared in episodes via flashbacks after the character’s death, and Wilson had filmed scenes for an upcoming episode as well before his death.
Other recent roles included those of Dr. Guyot in the Amazon Prime series Bosch, and of Abel Johnson in the Netflix series The OA; Wilson also appeared in films such as For Sale by Owner, Radio Free Albemuth, and Hostiles.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, a spokesperson for AMC said: "Scott will always be remembered as a great actor, and we all feel fortunate to have known him as an even better person. The character he embodied on The Walking Dead, Hershel, lived at the emotional core of the show. Like Scott in our lives, Hershel was a character whose actions continue to inform our characters’ choices to this day. Our hearts go out to his wife, family, friends and to the millions of fans who loved him. Scott will be missed."