Showrunner Angela Kang and fans paid tribute on Tuesday to The Walking Dead star Scott Wilson on what would have been his 80th birthday. Wilson died of leukemia in October 2018 at the age of 76, a day before the premiere of the ninth season of The walking dead, which was dedicated to his memory. In what would be Wilson’s final appearance, the actor reprized his fan-favorite role as Hershel Greene in a Season 9 episode opposite Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes. Wilson played Hershel as a series regular through 33 episodes and three seasons of the AMC zombie drama between 2011 and 2014.
“Happy heavenly birthday to Scott Wilson. You were a father figure, brother, friend and class clown to the #TWDfamily,” Kang wrote in a tribute posted to Instagram, sharing an image of Wilson’s last appearance in as Hershel. “I love you always and forever.” Kang’s profile picture has long been a photo of the Walking Dead showrunner and executive producer hugging Wilson.
AMC Networks aired a tribute to Wilson following the Season 9 premiere with “A New Beginning” on October 7, 2018. In a statement, AMC said of Wilson, “Scott will always be remembered as a great actor and we all feel lucky to have known him as an even better person. The Walking Dead, Hershel, lived at the emotional heart of the show. Like Scott in our lives, Hershel was a character whose actions continue to influence our character choices to this day. Our thoughts are with his wife, family, friends and the millions of fans who loved him. Scott will be missed.”
Wilson’s Hershel appears one last time when a badly injured Rick hallucinates a peaceful goodbye to his old friend and mentor, who was killed in Season 4.
“Scott saw the scene…I showed him the scene and he was so grateful,” said Greg Nicotero, who directed Wilson’s final episode of The Walking DeadRecount Express in 2018. “He had tears in his eyes when he looked at it and he was so proud.”
Wilson is survived by his wife, Heavenly Koh Wilson. Along with his role in The Walking DeadWilson had recurring roles on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and The OA. In film, Wilson is known for his credits In the heat of the Night, In cold bloodand his Golden Globe nominated role as Captain Billy Cutshaw in The ninth configuration.
See more tributes to Wilson below.