We are deeply saddened to report that Scott Wilson, the incredible actor who played Hershel on #TheWalkingDead, has passed away at the age of 76. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Rest in paradise, Scott. We love you!
Khary Payton also posted a message following Wilson’s death:
The first time I met Scott Wilson, he gave me a big hug and said that this thing I had become apart of... was a family. He said I had a responsibility to take care of it. I have tried very hard to do that, sir. & I will continue. I promise. See you on the other side, my friend.
Wilson, who grew up in Atlanta but left for Hollywood in 1961, is scheduled to show up for season nine, along with two other past figures, probably in relation to Andrew Lincoln character Rick Grimes’ pending departure. Season nine returns on Sunday, October 7.
He has been a routine presence at comic cons nationwide over the years and was scheduled to appear later this month at the Walker Stalker convention in Atlanta.
Before "The Walking Dead," he was a character actor with more than 50 credits to his name.
In 1967, he played a murder suspect in his first film “In the Heat of the Night” starring Rod Steigerand Sidney Poitier. He played a character who murdered Robert Redford’s Jay Gatsby in 1974. He received a Golden Globe nomination in 1980 for his supporting role in “The Ninth Configuration.” He was the chaplain in Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon’s “Dead Man Walking” in 1995. He was a victim of Charlize Theron’s serial killer in 2003’s “Monster.”
He has done films in South Korea, Japan and Spain. He did a movie based on a play John Paul II wrote. He’s played governors, generals and the president of the United States.
“The Walking Dead” made him a recognizable actor for millions of fans.
“I’ve accomplished more than I would have hoped to have accomplished,” he said to me in 2011. “I don’t want to be a big movie star. I can be someone who walks the streets and not get mobbed. Yet I want to be as fine an actor as I can be. I am still striving for that – to be as good as I can be.”
His most recent film credit was in the 2017 film "Hostiles," a Western starring Christian Bale.
Wilson’s character Hershel arrived on the show season two as a farmer and vet who saved Carl’s life, then allowed Rick’s crew to stay at his place until it was over run by zombies.
Over time, he became a father figure to Rick. He was the conscience for the group, the voice of reason in the face of gruesome deaths and an uncertain future for those who were still alive.
Hershel was killed in gruesome, shocking fashion season four. Bad guy the Governor, in anger, beheaded Hershel in front of his two daughters, setting off a furious battle.
"I went out in grand fashion," Wilson told me in 2014.
The scene became so iconic, one of Wilson’s prop heads landed at the Smithsonian museum in D.C., where Archie Bunker’s chair and the Fonz’s jacket resides.