LOS ANGELES (CNS) - “The Walking Dead” fans are mourning the death of actor Scott Wilson, who played veterinarian-turned-farmer Hershel Greene during the show's second, third and fourth seasons and was considered one of the show's pivotal characters. Wilson died of leukemia in Los Angeles on Saturday. He was 76.
Wilson was born in Thomasville, Georgia and put aside a planned career as a basketball player to embark on an acting career spanning more than 50 years.
He first gained notice in 1967 with pivotal roles in the films “In The Heat Of The Night” and “In Cold Blood.” Other credits included 1974's “The Great Gatsby,” 1983's “The Right Stuff” and TV roles on the “Twilight Zone,” “The X-Files” and “CSI.”
In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2011, Wilson acknowledged that he was not a big star, but hoped he was a good actor.
“I don't want to be a big movie star,” Wilson told the Journal- Constitution. “I can be someone who walks the streets and not get mobbed. Yet I want to be as fine an actor as I can be. I am still striving for that -- to be as good as I can be.”
His death was announced on the official “The Walking Dead” Twitter account.
“We are deeply saddened to report that Scott Wilson, the incredible actor who played Hershel on #TheWalkingDead has passed away at the age of 76,” the Twitter post read. “Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Rest in paradise, Scott. We love you!”
The notice triggered an outpouring of condolences and remembrances from co-stars and fans alike.
“I am utterly broken hearted to hear about the passing of Scott Wilson this evening,” Chris Hardwick, host of “The Walking Dead” after show, “Talking Dead,” wrote on Instagram. “All of the best parts of Hershel Greene came from Scott -- he was so incredibly sweet, warm and wise. I will really miss him and the gentle, compassionate eyes that gave Hershel so much soul.”
Officials with AMC, which airs “The Walking Dead,” also took to social media to share their thoughts.
“Scott will be remembered as a great actor and an even better person,” AMC posted on Twitter. “The character he embodied on “The Walking Dead, Hershel, lived at the emotional core of the show. Our hearts go out to his wife, family and friends and to the millions of fans who loved him.”
Just hours before his death was announced, “The Walking Dead” show runner Angela Kang told a crowd at the 2018 New York Comic Con that Wilson's character would return in a flashback sequence during the upcoming season, a performance that had already been filmed.
Wilson is survived by his wife of more than 40 years, artist and attorney Heavenly Koh Wilson.