Scott Wilson

Scott Wilson


Birth Place
Thomasville, Georgia, USA
March 29, 1942
October 06, 2018
Cause of Death


For most of his four-decade career in film and television, Scott Wilson essayed men on the brink of life-changing choices. He rose to fame as the amoral drifter Dick Hickcok in Richard Brooks' "In Cold Blood" (1967) and would play troubled, even dangerous roles in "The Grissom Gang" (1971), "The Great Gatsby" (1974) and "The Ninth Configuration" (1980). As Wilson grew older, his characte...

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Heavenly Wilson


For most of his four-decade career in film and television, Scott Wilson essayed men on the brink of life-changing choices. He rose to fame as the amoral drifter Dick Hickcok in Richard Brooks' "In Cold Blood" (1967) and would play troubled, even dangerous roles in "The Grissom Gang" (1971), "The Great Gatsby" (1974) and "The Ninth Configuration" (1980). As Wilson grew older, his characters softened a bit; there was still a rough edge to them, like the reclusive Judd Travers in "Shiloh" (1996), but he also played a thoughtful father in "Junebug" (2003) and a mobster-turned-long-lost father on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000-2015) before playing complicated patriarch Hershel Greene on the cable hit "The Walking Dead" (AMC 2010- ). Though rarely the lead, Wilson's history of solid support in numerous quality films made him one of the most dependable character actors in the film industry. Scott Wilson died of leukemia on October 6, 2018 at the age of 76.

Born March 29, 1942, Scott Wilson was the son of Thomas and Jewel Wilson. He spent the majority of his early life in his birthplace of Atlanta, GA before moving to Thomasville in his senior year of high school, following the death of his father. He received a basketball scholarship to Southern Tech University, where he studied architecture, but left school after suffering an injury. Finding himself at a crossroads, he hitchhiked to Los Angeles in 1961, where an actor friend brought him to an audition. The challenge of performing for others inspired Wilson to take up acting as his profession, which he supported through various menial jobs.

After gaining valuable experience on the Los Angeles theater scene, Wilson gained his big break as a small-town murder suspect in Norman Jewison's Oscar-winning "In the Heat of the Night" (1967). Wilson's turn as hapless petty crook Harvey Oberst attracted the attention of director Richard Brooks after Jewison screened dailies of "Heat" for him. Based on his performance, Brooks cast Wilson as the morally bankrupt, physically disfigured Dick Hickock in his adaptation of Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" (1967). Wilson's casual cruelty as Hickock left an indelible impression on viewers and critics, and made him a go-to for criminal roles in subsequent years.

In the years that followed his most revered work in "Cold Blood," Wilson settled comfortably into a wide variety of character parts. Though his screen appearances were more infrequent than many of his fellow supporting players - Wilson made just six films between 1971 and 1980 - his turns were frequently memorable. He took the lead in Robert Aldrich's "The Grissom Gang" (1971) as a psychotic gangster who kidnapped and fell in love with Kim Darby's Depression Era socialite, then shifted gears to play a vengeful husband who killed Robert Redford's Jay Gatsby in Jack Clayton's "The Great Gatsby" (1974). In 1980, Wilson received a Golden Globe nomination as an unhinged astronaut who came under the care of an equally unusual military therapist (Stacy Keach) in William Peter Blatty's cult drama "The Ninth Configuration."

Wilson enjoyed a strong start to the Eighties as legendary test pilot Scott Crossfield in "The Right Stuff" (1983) and a romantic lead as an American GI in the U.S.-Polish production of "Year of the Quiet Sun" (1984), which earned the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. But he soon found himself in a string of forgettable features, including "Blue City" (1986), "Malone" (1987) and Walter Hill's "Johnny Handsome" (1989). He slowly built his way back to prominence in the 1990s with more nuanced roles like Elvis Presley's father Vernon in "Elvis and the Colonel: The Untold Story" (NBC, 1993) and the prison chaplain in the feature "Dead Man Walking" (1995). The following year, he became a familiar face to young moviegoers as the cantankerous Judd Travers in the "Shiloh" trilogy of family films. In "Shiloh" (1996), Travers is the abusive owner of the title puppy, which finds a new home with a young boy. The character developed into a more sympathetic role in "Shiloh 2: Shiloh Season" (1999) and "Saving Shiloh" (2006), with a backstory of neglect that explained his antisocial behavior.

By the late 1990s and early new millennium, Wilson was working steadily in films and on television, frequently playing seasoned authority figures like General George C. Marshall in "Pearl Harbor" (2001) and an American ambassador in "The Last Samurai" (2003). There were also more nuanced roles, like his "Good Samaritan" john, who meets his end at the hands of serial killer Aileen Wuornos (Charlize Theron) in "Monster" (2003), and the thoughtful head of an emotionally complex Southern family in the Oscar-nominated "Junebug" (2003). His most visible character during this period was undoubtedly Sam Braun, mobster -turned-casino owner and biological father to investigator Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger) on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." Braun debuted in 2001 and enjoyed a love-hate relationship with Willows until 2006, when the reconciled father and daughter were torn apart after Braun was shot by an assailant. A longtime advocate of actors' rights through the Screen Actors Guild, Wilson received the organization's Ralph Morgan Award in 2007, which honored distinguished service to the Guild.

Following several years of small character roles in independent films, Wilson returned to series television in the key supporting role of aging farmer and veterinarian Hershel Greene on the critically-acclaimed horror series "The Walking Dead" (AMC 2010- ). Hershel's character arc came to an end in 2014, at which point Wilson moved on to a recurring role on the procedural drama "Bosch" (Amazon 2014- ). After co-starring in the horror series "Damien" (A&E 2016), Wilson took a recurring role on supernatural drama "The OA" (Netflix 2016- ), which was cut short by illness. Scott Wilson died of leukemia on October 6, 2018. He was 76.



Cast (Feature Film)

Hostiles (2017)
Saving Grace B. Jones (2012)
Open Window (2007)
The Heartbreak Kid (2007)
Come Early Morning (2006)
The Sensation of Sight (2006)
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
Saving Shiloh (2006)
The Host (2006)
Junebug (2005)
Monster (2004)
Horton/Last "john"
The Last Samurai (2003)
Ambassador Swanbeck
I Was a Teenage Faust (2002)
Bark (2001)
Pearl Harbor (2001)
The Animal (2001)
The Way of the Gun (2000)
The Jack Bull (1999)
Shiloh 2: Shiloh Season (1999)
Puraido: Unmei no toki (1998)
Prosecutor Joseph B Keenan
Clay Pigeons (1998)
G.I. Jane (1997)
Our God's Brother (1997)
Albert Chmielowski
The Quest (1996)
Fighters' Entourage Member
Shiloh (1996)
Judd Travers
Dead Man Walking (1995)
Tall Tale: The Unbelievable Adventures of Pecos Bill (1995)
The Grass Harp (1995)
Geronimo: An American Legend (1993)
Elvis & the Colonel: The Untold Story (1993)
Flesh and Bone (1993)
Pure Luck (1991)
Femme Fatale (1991)
Doctor Beaumont
Young Guns II (1990)
Johnny Handsome (1989)
The Exorcist III (1989)
Dead or Alive (1988)
Jesse (1988)
Sam Maloney
Malone (1987)
Blue City (1986)
The Aviator (1985)
Jerry Stiller
On the Line (1985)
Rok Spokonjnego Slonca (1984)
The Right Stuff (1983)
The Passover Plot (1976)
The Great Gatsby (1974)
Lolly Madonna XXX (1973)
The New Centurions (1972)
Gus [Plebesly]
The Grissom Gang (1971)
Slim Grissom
Castle Keep (1969)
Corporal Clearboy
The Gypsy Moths (1969)
Malcolm Webson
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
Harvey Oberst
In Cold Blood (1967)
Dick Hickock

Post Production (Special)

Animal Planet Dog Championship Finals (2001)
Post-Production Coordinator

Cast (Short)

The Sky Divers (1969)

Life Events


Moved to Los Angeles, where he enrolled in an acting class on a bet (date approximate)


Made feature film debut in "In the Heat of the Night", which had given him his first interview for a film acting job in 3 1/2 years


Played first leading role in a feature in "In Cold Blood"


Acted in first non-US production, the Israeli-made "The Passover Plot"


Played Captain Billy Cutshaw in "The Ninth Configuration"


Made rare episodic TV series appearance on "Quarantine", a segment, directed by Martha Coolidge, which was part of an episode of CBS's revamp of the supernatural anthology drama series, "The Twilight Zone"


Earliest TV-movies roles included that of Red Jack Stillwell in the HBO film, "The Tracker"


Appeared in the Comedy "Pure Luck," with Martin Short and Danny Glover


Was seen in the film "Flesh and Bone"


Appeared in the award winning "Dead Man Walking," directed and written by Tim Robbins


Portrayed Sheriff Mooney in the film "Clay Pigeons"


Had a small role in the blockbuster "Pearl Harbor," starring Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett


Had a recurring role on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation"


Featured in "Monster" with Charlize Theron


Also seen in Edward Zwick's "The last Samurai," starring Tom Cruise


Co-starred in the southern drama "Junebug"; Premiered at Sundance


Cast opposite Timothy Olyphant in Victor Nunez' "Coastlines" (lensed 2001)


Co-starred with Ashley Judd in Joey Lauren Adams' screenwriting and directing debut, "Come Early Morning"


Played Hershel Greene on "The Walking Dead"


Landed a recurring guest role on "Bosch"


Played John Lyons on the short-lived horror series "Damien"


Cast as Abel Johnson on "The OA"


Returned to features after a five-year hiatus in "Hostiles"


Movie Clip

In The Heat Of The Night (1967) -- (Movie Clip) What Does That Make Him? Visiting Philadelphia detective Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) pressed into service, has just finished speaking with the murder victim's widow (Lee Grant), and is skeptical when Mississippi sheriff Gillespie (Rod Steiger) et al bring in suspect Harvey (Scott Clark), in In The Heat Of The Night, 1967.
Gypsy Moths, The (1969) -- (Movie Clip) They Came For A Show The opening of director John Frankenheimer's action-thriller-melodrama, his last film with star Burt Lancaster, who's hot-dogging the parachute jump, worrying partners Gene Hackman and Scott Wilson, from The Gypsy Moths, 1969. co-starring Deborah Kerr.
Gypsy Moths, The (1969) -- (Movie Clip) No Air At All Scott Wilson (as "Malcolm") brings his barnstroming sky-diver buddies Mike and Joe (Burt Lancaster, Gene Hackman) to the Kansas home of his long-estranged aunt and uncle (Deborah Kerr, William Windom), offering only tentative hospitality, early in John Frankenheimer's The Gypsy Moths, 1969.
Gypsy Moths, The (1969) -- (Movie Clip) You Ever See Him Sweat? All three of the sky-dive barnstormers are stir-crazy, stuck in the rain at the home of Elizabeth (Deborah Kerr), who’s having a fling with Mike (Burt Lancaster), and who is the until-recently estranged aunt of Malcolm (Scott Wilson), who gets into a scrape with financially-motivated Browdy (Gene Hackman), in The Gypsy Moths, 1969.
In Cold Blood (1967) -- (Movie Clip) Something's Wrong Here From a scene shot in the actual Clutter farmhouse in Holcomb, Kansas, family members of the victims, to the first scene with killers Perry (Robert Blake) and Dick (Scott Wilson) after the crime, in Richard Brooks' In Cold Blood, 1967, from Truman Capote's book.
In Cold Blood (1967) -- (Movie Clip) Do The Right Thing Getting to know Dick (Scott Wilson) and Perry (Robert Blake) on the road and with Perry's flashback, before the murders, in Richard Brooks' In Cold Blood, 1967, from the Truman Capote "non-fiction novel."



Heavenly Wilson