RIP Scott Wilson
Review by Ray Schillaci
The Movie Guys
Consummate actor Scott Wilson has passed away after a battle with leukemia. Probably best known for his role as the beloved Hershel Greene, the widowed farm owner/veterinarian with the stubborn attitude and unwavering morals in the hit seriesThe Walking Dead, the actor also had a very impressive roster of work with over fifty film credits that included In The Heat of the Night (’67), In Cold Blood, and The Great Gatsby (’74).
For me, his best role and the one that garnered him a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor was in the William Peter Blatty cult classic, The Ninth Configuration. Wilson played a troubled astronaut who was believed to have had a nervous breakdown just before a launch. His questions about our purpose on Earth and God are riveting. So much power in that performance.
There was a quiet thunder to the characters he played. He was by some considered a “character actor”, but, my God, what character he brought to each role, a lived-in feel as if he had entered the soul of the character written. Very few actors have been able to leave such an indelible mark on the silver screen let alone on television. The first one that comes to mind was Harry Dean Stanton. He, too, had that quiet demeanor that made you want to watch him at every turn.
Wilson’s first screen roles were playing murder suspects. He was a stand out immediately playing opposite Robert Blake in the screen adaptation of In Cold Blood. His performance was realistic and unsettling, so much so that it got him on the cover of Life Magazine at the age of 25. Wilson was not above playing fun genre roles as proved in The Walking Dead, the S. Korea monster flick The Host, William Peter Blatty’s own sequel, The Exorcist III and the low-budget horror tale Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. With each project he added a touch of class.
In 2011, Wilson related his thoughts on his career to his hometown newspaper, Access Atlanta. He stated that it had ups and downs. But, he came across as if he preferred it that way. He never sought stardom. He wanted to be able to walk the streets nonchalantly, and still be the finest actor he could be. Scott Wilson pretty much achieved his dream and left us all with a body of work that can be enjoyed for years to come.