Hugh Hamilton Wilson
1943 - 2018
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August 24, 1943 - January 14, 2018 Hugh Hamilton Wilson Jr., age 74, of Charlottesville, VA., died at home January 14, 2018. He was born in Miami, August 24, 1943 to the late Hugh Hamilton Wilson and Frances Xavier Nugent Wilson. He attended Coral Gables Senior High School and is a member of the Ching Tang fraternity. He graduated from the University of Florida ('65) with a degree in Journalism and was a member of the Blue Key Society. In 1982, Hugh received the school's Distinguished Alumnus award. He is a member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and the St. Cecilia Society of Charleston, S.C. Before getting his start in television and motion pictures, Hugh wrote copy for Burton-Campbell Advertising in Atlanta. He went on to become the president of the company in 1973. In Los Angeles, Hugh wrote for the "Bob Newhart Show," created the CBS hit "WKRP in Cincinnati," and directed movies, notably the first "Police Academy," "Guarding Tess" and "First Wives Club." He won his Best Comedy Writing Emmy in 1988 for "Frank's Place," which he considered his best work. But with the twin curse of glowing critical reviews and lousy ratings, it was cancelled after its first season. He is a rare two-time winner of Best Comedy Writing for the Humanitas Prize, which is given for promoting human dignity and meaning within popular entertainment. Hugh and his family moved from Los Angeles to a farm in Virginia in 1992. He taught TV and screen writing at the University of Virginia. Hugh is survived by his wife of 40 years, Charters Smith Wilson; children, Cannon Wilson Sayers (Gary) of Atlanta, Price Wilson White (Kip) of Charlottesville, Va., Margaret Wilson Thomas (Joe) of San Francisco, Hugh Patrick Wilson of Richmond, Va., Caroline Charters Wilson of Los Angeles; and four splendid grandchildren. He also leaves behind his dear friend, Sandra Williams Player of Atlanta. Hugh was raised Roman Catholic and attended the Episcopal Church with his wife and children. He brought his impeccable sense of humor to his scholarly endeavors, which included the history of the Catholic Church and the Italian Renaissance. He was an avid reader and writer, history buff, enthusiastic spectator and sportsman, and lover of life. Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, January 20, 2018 at Christ Episcopal Church, 120 West High Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902. Condolences may be sent to the family at

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Published in Los Angeles Times on Jan. 17, 2018.
Memorial service
11:00 AM
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Hill & Wood - Charlottesville
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7 entries
April 30, 2019
Life is bearable with humor..for all the laughs we shared❤
margot larsen
March 7, 2019
life is bearable with humor
February 20, 2018
with many in line for "a chance" Hugh let me in and befriended me even with my lack of know how as to be present and know the procedure. I admired him, visited his home, played bad tennis with him and his friends, met Charters, gave him a painting of thanks but never got to work with him. My huge regrets. I wish I had known him longer, in Atlanta, in LA. I embrace you and the children Charters and wish you all the courage you need and the strength of memories to carrying you on. All good things ahead.
Jim R. Rogers
February 5, 2018
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Hugh during the years my agency took care of his mother in her declining period. He was the most caring, loving, sensitive son one could ever hope for. Not only did he visit but was in constant touch with myself & Agnes, a dear family friend to make sure all her needs were met.
May he rest in peace.
Helen Lovely, Professional Private Nursing Care
Helen Lovely
January 20, 2018
I lived in Coral Gables and knew Hugh during my time in the Gables and my first year at Gables High before my father was transferred to CT. We ran in the same circle of friends and he was a lovely kid. I went into theatre as an actress in NY and around the country and later wrote programs in arts education in NY, FL, PA, LA, and MO. Hugh focused on writing, producing and creating for TV and film. He was always fun to be around, very sharp, witty, and a lovely human. So sad to lose him. My deepest sympathies to Charters and his family.
Dana Kyle DeMartino
January 18, 2018
I met a young Hugh when we were members of the Southwest Boys' Club of Miami, or the Club as we called it (now the Boys' & Girls' Club, Hank Kline Unit). Hugh was three or four years behind me at the Club and at Coral Gables Senior High. During our years at Gables the top two fraternities were Ching Tang and Tau Delta Tau/Stags Club. Hugh was Ching Tang. I was Stags Club. The Club provided us with life lessons that had a significant lifelong impact. And, many Ching Tang and Stags Club members are brothers for life, a bond that cannot be broken.

About thirty years after I met him, a very successful Hugh returned to Miami with his WKRP stars to be the main attraction at a Boys' Club fund raising event. Hundreds of us attended and appreciated Hugh's generous support. I had a wonderful conversion with Hugh that evening. I remember we laughed when we traded stories of the annual Ching Tang-Stags Club tomato fight. Both fraternities added green tomatoes to the overripe tomatoes provided for the battle.

Hugh and his family are in my thoughts and prayers. He has left this life and begun a life that is joyful and eternal. St. John, Chapter 14, verse 2: "In my Father's house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."

John David Dannelly, Jr.
Miami, Florida
John Dannelly
January 17, 2018
Memories of Hugh as Phi Delta Theta President at the University of Florida. A dynamic, upbeat, sincere man. Thank you, Hugh, for humor and goodness.
David Ingram
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