George Wilson

George Wilson did not plan on an acting career. Growing up in Bastrop, his first brush with fame came as drum major in the Morehouse High School band.

Wilson graduated from MHS in 1965 and moved to Michigan, where he worked in a General Motors plant. The work did not always agree with him. He began spending time at Michigan State University in Lansing while an acquaintance was taking classes there.

He met a faculty member who helped him enroll in Lansing Community College, where he studied theater and began acting in stage productions. From there, he moved on to acting at Michigan State.

Wilson auditioned for a theater company in Detroit, where his first reading with a fellow thespian did not seem to go well.

Five seasons later, Wilson decided to take his talents to Los Angeles, where he enrolled in an acting workshop. Things did not go as planned on the West Coast.

Wilson worked as a diesel driver in Shreveport for the next 10 years. His acting career seemed to be over.

Auditions and acting workshops began to pop up around town, and Wilson decided to get back in the game. He landed his first movie role as a detective in the 2007 film “Cleaner.”

He worked as an extra on “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle,” then landed a more sizable role in the 2007 film “The Great Debaters.”

The Golden Globe-nominated film tells the story of Professor Melvin Tolson, who coached the Wiley College debate team in Marshall, Texas in the 1930s. The film was produced by Oprah Winfrey and directed by Academy Award winner Denzel Washington.

Wilson said his role as the character “Samuel” required him to spend 30 hours in the make-up chair while he was made to appear injured.

Watching Denzel Washington at work, as both director and actor, helped enhance his own acting ability.