BySam Plank, writer at
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Sam Plank

Not many actors can make their fans sad when they see spaghetti is on the dinner menu. But thanks to Hershel, Scott Wilson's beloved, beheaded character from The Walking Dead, how we look at barns, pocket watches, and spaghetti has forever been changed.

Even though earning himself millions of fans by playing is a great reason to celebrate, there's an even bigger reason Scott Wilson should be celebrating this year: 2017 marks his impressive 50th year in Hollywood.

At the Tulsa Walker Stalker Convention earlier this month, Wilson gave out hugs, posed for selfies, and blessed fans with a panel in which he talked about his half-century-long career. He even included the story of how he got started acting, and it's pretty great. It's not at all inspiring, but still pretty great.

Turns out, after a night of heavy drinking one night all those years ago, his friend took him to an acting class and just dropped him off. While he was still drunk. At some point, though, he also hitchhiked to California.

Behind the scenes with 'The Walking Dead' [Credit: AMC]
Behind the scenes with 'The Walking Dead' [Credit: AMC]

I guess that just proves it: More often than not, so many of life's best stories start out with a night of heavy drinking.

Here are some other highlights from 's incredible career.

In The Heat Of The Night (1967)

Wilson's big break came when he was 24 years old, after he had spent five and a half years doing theater. Wilson played Harvey Oberst, a man who is arrested for, but later found not guilty of the murder of Phillip Colbert. Starring in that Academy Award-winning film helped him get his next role in the film In Cold Blood, which was Academy Award-winning as well. Not a bad start for a young actor.

The Walking Dead (2011-2014)

Wilson's character, Hershel Greene, invented Spaghetti Tuesdays on Wednesdays, lost his leg, and eventually lost his head. Regardless, one of the most beloved characters on has stayed in the hearts of countless fans.

Wilson joked during his panel at the convention in Tulsa about how he was this 75 year old man who actually has an honest-to-gosh Funko Pop doll. The moderators up on stage with him joked that it would have to come with a detachable leg, to which he replied that the head would have to be the same. Still too soon, man. Too soon.

The OA (2016-Present)

, like its other Netflix counterpart, Stranger Things, is a supernatural drama. It centers around Prairie Johnson, who, as a blind girl, disappeared seven years ago, only to reappear suddenly one day with her sight restored, and calling herself “The OA”. Wilson plays Prairie's adoptive father, Abel.

Hostiles (2017)

After 2000's South of Heaven, West of Hell , 1990's Young Guns II, 1995's Tall Tale, among others, Wilson returns to the wild wild West in . Set in 1892, it stars Christian Bale stars as Captain Joseph J. Blocker, who is tasked with escorting a dying Cheyenne war chief back to his tribal lands. Wilson plays a man named Cyrus Lounde, and while we don't know much about his character yet, if we know anything about Wilson, it's that his role will be memorable.

Other Notable Roles & Notable Co-Stars

  • George Wilson in The Great Gatsby (1974) alongside luminaries like Robert Redford, Mia Farrow, and Bruce Dern
  • Scott Crossfield in The Right Stuff (1983) with an all-star cast of Sam Shepard, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid, Fred Ward, and Barbara Hershey
  • Jerry Stiller in The Aviator (1985) alongside Christopher Reeve and Rosanna Arquette
  • Pa Angel in Judge Dredd (1995) with Sylvester Stallone and Diane Lane
  • Judd Travers in the Shiloh franchise with Ann Dowd
  • C.O. Salem in G.I. Jane (1997) with Demi Moore and Viggo Mortensen
  • Ambassador Swanbeck in The Last Samurai (2003) with Ken Watanabe and Tom Cruise

Please, grab your glasses and toast Mr. Wilson to an impressive 50 years, and many more filled with spaghetti dinners and great stories. Or in the case of Walker Stalker Con Tulsa, great stories about spaghetti dinners: At his Sunday panel, Wilson informed the audience that he and Lawrence Gilliard, Jr. (Bob Stookey) ha gone to dinner together the night before—and, yes, they had spaghetti for dinner.

Cheers, Mr. Wilson!


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