Scott Wilson, who played criminals in films such as In Cold Blood and more recently portrayed a rare figure of kindness in the hit AMC series The Walking Dead, has died. He was 76.
His death was confirmed on Sunday in a statement by the Screen Actors Guild. It provided no other details. Some news reports said that he had died at his home in Los Angeles and that he had leukemia.
Mr. Wilson’s breakout role was as the murderer Richard Hickock in In Cold Blood, a 1967 adaptation of Truman Capote’s book by the same title. It was his second film.
The book recounted the murder of four people on their farm in Holcomb, Kan., in 1959 by Hickock and Perry Smith, two petty criminals.
The director, Richard Brooks, filmed the murder scenes in the actual farmhouse where the killings had taken place. He also purposely selected little-known actors, Mr. Wilson and Robert Blake, to play the killers.
“Brooks wanted to create a film so unique to itself and so realistic that no one would relate it to movie stars,” Mr. Wilson told The Independent of London in 2000.
The film was well-received by critics. Bosley Crowther of The New York Times praised the performances of Mr. Wilson and Mr. Blake.
“Their abilities to demonstrate the tensions, the torments and the shabby conceits of the miserable criminals give disturbing dimensions to their roles,” Mr. Crowther wrote.
More recent audiences know Mr. Wilson as Hershel Greene, a veterinarian and farmer, on The Walking Dead, which follows a group of survivors in the American South after much of the population has been turned into a horde of ravenous zombies.
Mr. Wilson first appeared in 2011 during the show’s second season, when his character agreed to let the central group of survivors take shelter on his farm. When the farm is overrun by zombies, he accompanies them to a former prison. He becomes a moral authority on the show, stern but kind, and loses a leg after he is bitten by one of the undead. The character was killed at the end of the show’s fourth season.
The first episode of the ninth season aired on Sunday night. Angela Kang, The Walking Dead’s showrunner, announced during a panel at New York Comic Con on Saturday that Mr. Wilson’s character would make a cameo appearance at some point during the season.
Mr. Wilson was born in Atlanta on March 29, 1942. His father was a building contractor who wanted him to be an architect or an engineer.
He studied architecture in Georgia but dropped out before completing his degree, deciding to hitchhike to California to study acting. He acted in local theatre there until his first movie role, as a murder suspect in Norman Jewison’s In the Heat of the Night (1967). In Cold Blood was released later that year.
Mr. Wilson appeared in several dozen more films, including The Great Gatsby (1974), The Right Stuff (1983), Dead Man Walking (1995), The Last Samurai (2003) and Monster (2003).
He played a cruel dog owner in three movies based on Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s Shiloh novels, and St. Albert Chmielowski in Our God’s Brother (1997), a film adaptation, by Polish director Krzysztof Zanussiof, of a play written by Pope John Paul II.
Mr. Wilson also had recurring parts on the CBS police procedural CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Netflix’s science-fiction drama The OA.
He leaves his wife, Heavenly (Koh) Wilson.