Nick Wilkinson, a casting director for ABC Television and Theatre Communications Group, died Sept. 29 on the Hawaiian island of Kauai from a heart attack at age 69. His death was confirmed by his husband, Jamie Wooten,
Wilkinson was the longtime director of casting for Theatre Communications Group in New York City, which was known in the 1980’s as ‘Central Casting’ for most of the regional theaters across America.
He then became casting director for the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, and later was hired by ABC Television as a director of casting, both in New York and later Los Angeles, and helped cast major projects in the Movies & Miniseries division, and also their Daytime division.
In his long casting career, he was very proud of the part he played in helping previously unknown actors, like Bruce Willis and Sarah Michelle Gellar, begin their climb to stardom.
After retiring from casting, and indulging his knowledge and love of art with a stint as a docent at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, he returned to his first love, writing, and wrote several TV series episodes (For Your Love, Disney’s Teacher’s Pet) with his writing partner, Jessie Jones.
He then completed the circle and returned to theater, this time as a playwright, as one of the much-produced comedy playwright trio known as Jones Hope Wooten (Hope was Wilkinson’s mother’s middle name and his nom de plume).
Their comedies have been produced thousands of times on stages around the world.
He is survived by his husband, Jamie Wooten, who was one of the writers and producers of the television series The Golden Girls. Their romance spanned 30 years.
An avid world traveler and devoted animal lover, donations in Wilkinson’s memory can be made to Animal Haven of Asheville, NC, the city where the Jones Hope Wooten comedies first came to life.