Gahan Wilson Dies: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Gahan Wilson Dead

Getty Wilson pictured in March 2008.

Gahan Wilson, the famed author and cartoonist, has died in Arizona at the age of 89. Wilson had been battling dementia. A post on Wilson’s Facebook page said that Wilson passed away on November 21.

Wilson will forever be remembered for his seminal work in publications such as The New Yorker and Playboy. His comic strip, “Nuts,” was a regular feature in National Lampoon.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Wilson Was Surrounded by His Family as He Passed Away

Gahan Wilson


Wilson’s stepfather, Paul Winters, wrote of the famed artist, “The world has lost a legend. One of the very best cartoonists to ever pick up a pen and paper has passed on. He went peacefully – surrounded by those who loved him.” Wilson was preceded in death by his wife, Nancy Winters Wilson. Wilson is survived by his two stepsons, daughter-in-law, as well as eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

2. Wilson’s Wife, Nancy, Passed Away in 2019


Wilson’s wife of 53 years passed away on March 2, 2019. A GoFundMe page was set up for Wilson’s medical care following his wife’s passing. At the time of writing, the page has raised over $83,000. That page describes Wilson’s wife as “his rock. His guide through the world. While we all helped with his care, it was my mother who grounded him. He is currently distraught and out of sorts with the world.”

The page explains that Wilson and his wife had been living in a medical care facility in Arizona together. Wilson was being cared for in a memory care unit.

3. Wilson Was a Resident of the New York-Area for Many Years

Gahan Wilson on Letterman, March 30, 1982Cartoonist Gahan Wilson promotes his book _Is Nothing Sacred._2016-11-30T03:10:43.000Z

Prior to living in Arizona, Wilson and his wife had lived in Sag Harbor on Long Island before moving to Greenwich Village in New York City until 2019. 27 East reports that for some years, Wilson and his wife lived apart from each other when Nancy Wilson moved to England. The website notes that the couple’s marriage remained happy throughout.

Wilson was a native of Evanston, Illinois, by Lake Michigan.

4. Wilson Was ‘Born Dead’

Gahan Wilson's DinerThis is a recorded copy of the rare short by Gahan Wilson. I wanted this uploaded so the world can see the brilliance. I taped it off a old VHS tape i found at a local library that is no longer in circulation. Enjoy!2008-07-29T23:11:22.000Z

Wilson told the Comics Journal in a 2011 interview that he was “born dead.” Wilson explained that when he was born, he was blue and not breathing. Wilson said the doctor put him in the sink. Shortly afterward, the same doctor noticed that Wilson looked as though he was stirring. Wilson told the website, “He was looking through the little porthole into the operating room and then burst in and grabbed me up. He used hot and cold water and slap, slap, slap. He got me coughing and puking and breathing and that’s that: I was alive.”

Wilson added that, “The same thing happened to John Steinbeck. I could have spent some time in the afterlife before I was born.” A documentary that was made about Wilson’s celebrated his bizarre birth in the title, “Born Dead, Still Weird.”

5. Wilson’s Is Being Celebrated as One of the Great American Cartoonists on Social Media

Gahan Wilson

Wilson discusses his piece on display during a press preview of the Metropolitan Opera’s and The New Yorker’s exhibition of “Hansel and Gretel” at the Arnold & Marie Schwartz Gallery Met on November 15, 2007 in New York City.

As new of Wilson’s death spread, fans took to social media to celebrate his life and career. Here are some of the most poignant messages of remembrance:

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