Scott Wilson 1942-2018


The horror community lost one of its finest actors on Saturday. Scott Wilson passed away. He was 76 years old.

The sad news broke around 10 PM EDT. Representative Don Mancini told TMZ that Scott Wilson had passed due to complications from leukemia.

Tributes have been pouring in on social media. Former co-stars such as Titus Welliver from Bosch, convention pals such as Bruce Campbell, and saddened fans have been posting their condolences.

The official The Walking Dead Twitter account posted:

“Scott will be remembered as a great actor and an even better person. The character he embodied on The Walking Dead, Hershel, lived at the emotional core of the show. Our hearts go out to his wife, family, friends and to the millions of fans who loved him.”

Scott Wilson-The Walking Dead-Courtesy of AMC Networks

Wilson was a Horror Veteran before TWD

One of Wilson’s first roles was as killer Dick Hickock in the film In Cold Blood. The murder scenes were shot on location where the crimes had been committed.

Wilson also stared in two films that were part of the Exorcist universe of William Peter Blatty.

In The Ninth Configuration, Wilson played astronaut Captain Billy Cutshaw. The character was originally in The Exorcist. Regan, in front of all of the dinner guests, tells Cutshaw that he was going to die in space.

Wilson’s version of the character saw him committed to a insane asylum for military personnel. His performance earned him a Golden Globe nomination.

Scott Wilson-The Ninth Configuration-Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Wilson played  Dr. Temple in Exorcist III. His performance as a psychiatrist treating an odd patient with amnesia helped to build the foreboding tension in the film.

Most recently, Wilson played John Lyons on A&E’s Damien. The show was a short lived sequel to The Omen. The character was a Washington D.C. power broker who befriended Damien Thorn as he was learning who he really was.

Dr. Hershel Greene

Wilson will likely be remembered most as playing Dr. Hershel Greene on AMC’s The Walking Dead. That’s with good reason. He became the emotional center of the series from halfway through season 2 until his shocking death halfway through season 4.

Hershel had one of the clearest arcs in the entire 8 year run of the series to date. When we first met him in season 2, Hershel was an isolationist who believed it was a sin to kill the walkers. The most important part, and his most powerful character trait, was Hershel’s ability to see the humanity in every person.

In a universe where a growing majority of characters are depraved and power hungry, Hershel was a beacon of light. Before walkers, the biggest foe Hershel fought and beat was alcoholism. He didn’t feel cheated by life and seemed content with his family and farm in the normal world.

So, when he became the default elder statesmen in season 3, Hershel did not exhibit a thirst to seize that power for a single moment. It also made Hershel keenly aware of those characters who were power hungry and who showed signs of being redeemable.

Scott Wilson-The Walking Dead-Courtesy of AMC Networks

None of that would have been possible without the acting of Scott Wilson. He approached the character with a sheepish vulnerability. There was an honesty in every facial expression. He was direct and made eye contact, but his voice was old and wilting.

There was something musical about Hershel’s voice. Every choice Wilson made with the character made him soft and approachable. You wanted this guy to like you. You wanted this guy to lead you.


Approximately an hour before news broke of his death, show runner Angela Kang had announced at New York Comic Con that Wilson would be returning to The Walking Dead during season 9. Early reports say that he had already filmed some scenes.

Season 9 premieres tonight on AMC. It’s way too early to speculate. Given that Andrew Lincoln’s departure from the show has been widely publicized and advertised, I do wonder if Hershel was set to return in Rick Grimes’ final moments on the show. They were deeply connected in the introspective seasons prior to the all out war of the most recent seasons.

Hershel’s daughter Maggie (Lauren Cohan) will also be exiting the show sometime this year. Perhaps Maggie will rely on memories of her beloved dad as she tries to quell her anger over Rick’s sparing of Negan’s life.

Back in July, Cohan had mentioned in an interview that Maggie’s storyline would be left open for a return in future seasons. It’ll be interesting to see what role Hershel’s memory may play in that.

Based on the reactions I saw cast-mates have when Wilson left TWD, he was just as beloved as his character. Wilson seemed to be the type of genuine, supportive guy that Hollywood so desperately needs right now. With a career that spanned over 50 years, he surely won’t be forgotten.

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I’ll miss the voice, the walk, and that look in his eyes that said ‘I can’t believe this is happening, but let’s roll.’

What was your favorite Scott Wilson Role? How do you think he’ll return in season 9 of The Walking Dead? Let’s discuss in the comments.