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Scott Wilson of ‘The Walking Dead’ Remembered at Memorial

Scott Wilson, an acting veteran of half a century who was a high-profile member “The Walking Dead” cast, was remembered warmly at memorial ceremonies Saturday at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.

Wilson died at the age of 76 after a battle with leukemia on Oct. 6. The premiere episode of the ninth season of “The Walking Dead” aired the next day and was dedicated to Wilson’s memory.

“The Walking Dead” cast members Danai Gurira, Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies and Greg Nicotero spoke at Saturday’s event along with director Ernest Dickerson. Gurira recalled in her speech that Wilson went out of his way to make her feel comfortable on her first day when she joined the cast of “The Walking Dead” in its third season.

“Scott made me feel like part of the family as soon as I met him,” she said. “He also taught me to how to smoke a cigar.”

Lincoln said Wilson was particularly adept at dry humor about himself, asking him during a long break if he knew who was the first person to “flip the bird” in a movie: “I said, “Robert Mitchum?’ and he said, ‘No, it was me.”

Callies read the Edna St. Vincent Millay poem “Thou Famished Grave.” Nicotero led a toast at the reception.

Wilson played rural farmer Hershel Greene on the series. He was a regular on “The Walking Dead” during its second, third and fourth seasons. His first credits came in 1967 — as murder suspect Harvey Oberst in best picture Academy Award winner in “In the Heat of the Night,” and as murderer Richard Hickock opposite Robert Blake in Richard Brooks’ film adaptation of Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood.”

Other notable credits included “Castle Keep,” “Dead Man Walking,” “A Year in the Quiet Sun,” which won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, and “The Ninth Configuration,” for which he received a Golden Globe nomination.

Actor Kent McCord spoke of Wilson’s longtime activism in the Screen Actors Guild and recalled presenting him with the Ralph Morgan Award for service to the guild’s Hollywood members in 2007. He noted that Wilson remained upbeat in recent years despite his illness.

“I never once saw him shed a tear,” McCord said. “He was the finest person I’ve ever known.”

The event’s program included a quote from Wilson’s Hershel Greene: “You step outside, you risk your life. You take a drink of water, you risk your life. And nowadays you breathe, you risk your life. Every moment now you don’t have a choice. The only thing you can choose is what you’re risking it for.”

Those in attendance at the memorial ceremonies included Ed Asner, SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer Jane Austin, Frances Fisher, Elliott Gould, Lainie Kazan and Connie Stevens. Wilson is survived by his wife, Heavenly, an artist and attorney.

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