A distinguished power broker, John Lyons became a friend and mentor to Damien during his years at the White House.
The Georgia-born Scott Wilson was raised in Atlanta and was awarded a basketball scholarship to Georgia's Southern Tech University to study architecture. Instead, Wilson hitchhiked to Los Angeles on a whim and hooked up with an actor he met in a bar who took him to an audition. Wilson lost the part but was absolutely hooked. Working an assortment of menial jobs, he studied for nearly five years while gaining experience in local theater productions such as The Importance of Being Earnest.
Scott's fledgling career took off after being discovered by director Norman Jewison who cast him as a murder suspect in the 1967 film In The Heat of the Night, starring Sidney Poitier and Academy Award®-winner Rod Steiger. Wilson immediately followed this with the colead role of murderer Richard Hickock in the stark and disturbing In Cold Blood, a superlative adaptation of Truman Capote's bestselling docu-novel. Partnering up with Robert Blake for the film, the two of them played the roles of ex-cons who were eventually executed for the senseless, brutal slaughter of an entire Kansas farm family. The critically-acclaimed film put both men squarely on the movie map.
Among Scott's other early film work were Castle Keep and The Gypsy Moths in 1969, both starring Burt Lancaster; The Grissom Gang in 1971; The New Centurians in 1972; Lolly-Madonna XXX in 1973; and The Great Gatsby in 1974, for which he earned rave reviews as the garage owner who shoots Robert Redford's title character to death. In 1980, he received a Golden Globe nomination with The Ninth Configuration, followed by roles in The Right Stuff (1983) and the 1984 Venice Film Festival-winner, A Year of the Quiet Sun. Wilson also appeared in Malone (1987) and Johnny Handsome (1989).
TV also showed off Scott's dark, controlled intensity and wide range in later years, appearing in guest spots on such popular dramas as "The X-Files" and "The Twilight Zone," as well as in a recurring role as Marg Helgenberger's unscrupulous mobster father in "CSI."
In mini-movies, Scott has played everything from Elvis's father in Elvis and the Colonel: The Untold Story (1993) to a Wyoming governor in The Jack Bull (1999). He's also appeared in family-oriented films such as Shiloh in 1996 and its 2006 sequel. Scott has performed alongside Vince Vaughn in Clay Pigeons (1998) and Ryan Phillippe in The Way of the Gun (2000). He also played a murder victim to Charlize Theron's serial killer in Monster (2003). Other strong showings on the big screen have included a lead part as a rockabilly star in Don't Let Go (2002) and his down-home patriarch in the superb ensemble art film Junebug (2005), which was a breakout hit with Academy voters.
Most recently, Scott has gained a following sporting a full grey beard and ponytail as grizzled farm owner Hershel Greene in the cable series "The Walking Dead."
Wilson resides in Los Angeles with his wife Heavenly. She is an attorney as well as an accomplished artist and writer. They have been married for nearly four decades.