For most of us, the late Scott Wilson’s defining moment came at the twilight of his career when he played Hershel Greene, the patriarch of a holdout rural farm family on AMC’s The Walking Dead. This was the role of a lifetime for Wilson, the kind that guarantees film immortality and a permanent place in pop culture. The truth is, Wilson had already had a film career that spanned five decades previous to TWD. He worked as a dependable and competent character actor that never achieved leading man status, but did something far more difficult and admirable. He anchored iconic films and television with pivotal roles that he hid himself completely within. As a final goodbye to this prolific actor, PopHorror is taking a look back at some of his most notable film appearances.
The Walking Dead TV series
Herschel Greene was inarguably Wilson’s most famous role, the father figure and last bastion of old school wisdom in a world gone mad.
In The Heat Of The Night (1967)
He played Harvey Oberst in In the Heat of the Night, the film that inspired the Carroll O’Connor television series.
In Cold Blood (1967)
That same year, Wilson teamed up with Robert Blake to play the real life murderous drifters in film adaptation of Truman Capote’s novel, In Cold Blood.
The Great Gatsby (1974)
He also played George Wilson, who exacted his revenge on an undeserving Gatsby in the 1974 version of The Great Gatsby.
The Ninth Configuration (1980)
The Ninth Configuration was the first of two films he was in that were not only based on source material from William Peter Blatty, but also directed by Blatty himself.
The Right Stuff (1983)
Wilson portrayed Scott Crossfield in the astronaut biopic, The Right Stuff (1983).
The Exorcist III (1990)
Exorcist III was Wilson’s second experience with William Peter Blatty, playing Dr. Temple.
Young Guns II (1990)
Here’s Wilson as Governor Lewis Wallace, flanked by James Coburn, Viggo Mortensen, and R.D.Call in Young Guns II.
Judge Dredd (1995)
He had an uncredited appearance as Pa Angel in the 1995 version of Judge Dredd with Sylvester Stallone.
The X-Files TV series
He also had a cameo in a season 7 episode of The X Files.
The Animal (2001), Big Stan (2007)
He was in two films with Rob Schneider, The Animal (2001) and the prison comedy, Big Stan (2007).
He was Aileen Wuornos’ last John in Monster with Charlize Theron.
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
Wilson also portrayed Leslie Vernon’s inspiration, Eugene, in Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.
This isn’t the definitive list of his acting credits by no means, but only an indicator of how talented and prolific Scott Wilson was. When an actor is known for such a highly visible role, it’s easy not to look further into their comprehensive body of work, when in reality, all of the stellar things they did in older or lower budget films is what got them the gig in the first place. RIP, Scott Wilson. You will be missed.