Actor Scott Wilson had an incredible career, one that started with tremendous classics and ended with his involvement in several beloved television series. Two years after his death, let us take a look at Wilson’s incredible career and his work after his beloved performance as Hershel Greene on The Walking Dead.
Scott Wilson Before The Walking Dead
Right out the gate, Scott Wilson had an impressive career. His first film appearance was with 1967’s In the Heat of the Night, which would go on to win five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. In the same year, Wilson would play one of the two leads in the adaptation of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, which would also earn four Academy Award nominations.
Scott Wilson would continue this successful career for decades, appearing at George Wilson in the 1974 adaptation of The Great Gatsby and in 1980, he would receive his only Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture for the role of Captain Billy Cutshaw in The Ninth Configuration. In 1983, he would appear in The Right Stuff, which also earned eight Academy Award nominations and would go on to win four. Like In the Heat of the Night and In Cold Blood, The Right Stuff would be added to the United States Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
In 1986 – after almost twenty years in the film industry – Scott Wilson would make his first television appearance in the “Quarantine” episode of the Twilight Zone. Throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s, Wilson would become one of the great character actors, a welcome surprise in films and television, no matter how small the part.
Some highlights of Scott Wilson’s illustrious career include appearing in Tim Robbins’ 1995 film Dead Man Walking, appearing as General George Marshall in Michael Bay’s 2001 film, Pearl Harbor, and Wilson would appear in the “Orison” episode of The X-Files.
But in the 2000’s, Scott Wilson became part of many impressive casts. Over the course of five years, Wilson appeared in multiple episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and on such critically acclaimed shows as Justified and Enlightened. In 2003 alone, Scott Wilson would appear in both Patty Jenkins’ Monster and the Tom Cruise-starring The Last Samurai. In the years following, Wilson was also cast in a significant role in 2005’s Junebug and as a doctor in Bong Joon-ho’s 2006 monster film, The Host.
In 2006, Scott Wilson would win the Screen Actor Guild’s Ralph Morgan Award for service to the guild’s Hollywood members. Wilson was a member of SAG for over 40 years when he received the nomination. According to Variety, who reported on the award, Wilson had taken the leading role in resolving major issues such as the task force that created Global Rule One, which would make members of SAG work under SAG contracts anywhere in the world. He also served on multiple guild committees for decades and was a member of the SAG National Low Budget Committee.
Hershel On The Walking Dead
In 2011, Scott Wilson would join the cast of The Walking Dead as Hershel Greene, a veterinarian who struggled with alcoholism and father to Maggie (Lauren Cohan). Hershel’s optimistic viewpoint of the world was both refreshing and frustrating on a show like The Walking Dead, as he kept a barn full of zombies, hoping that there would one day be a cure. Hershel’s farm would be the primary location for Season Two.
Scott Wilson would play Hershel Greene on The Walking Dead for three seasons, after being introduced in Season Two, but was then killed in Season Four.
Despite his death, Hershel would return multiple times on the show, appearing in the Season Four finale in a flashback, then again in Season Nine episode, which was filmed shortly before he died.
Hershel Greene was also one of the few characters from the comic series and the television show to cross over into the Telltale Games The Walking Dead franchise. In the first season of the game, lead characters Lee Everett and Clementine come to Hershel’s farm and ask for shelter.
In 2015, Scott Wilson would receive a People’s Choice Award nomination for Favorite TV Character We miss Most for his performance of Hershel Greene on The Walking Dead.
Scott Wilson’s Final Performances
After his death on The Walking Dead, Scott Wilson had significant arcs on several other television series. He had multiple episodes on the Amazon series, Bosch, and appeared on A&E’s The Omen-inspired series, Damien in 2016. Scott Wilson also joined the cast of the Netflix’s fan-favorite The OA, where he played Abel Johnson, the adoptive father of the show’s star, Prairie Johnson (Brit Marling).
Scott Wilson’s final film performance would be in the 2017 film, Hostiles, and his last two television appearances would be in returning performances on both The Walking Dead and The OA.
Scott Wilson’s Death
On October 6, 2018, Scott Wilson died at the age of 76 from leukemia. The news of his death came less than an hour after The Walking Dead announced he would be reprising his role of Hershel Greene on the upcoming ninth season. It’s hard not to wonder what might have been.
Scott Wilson left behind an incredible legacy of film and television roles that fans still admire and appreciate two years after his death. He was one of the truly great character actors, and he is still missed.