Wilson was born in 1946 in Valdosta, Georgia, and raised in New York City, where he trained in tap dance and ballet.
He had his Broadway debut at the age of four and danced at the Apollo Theater in Harlem at the age of twelve. Wilson was raised as a catholic and spent summers in Georgia with a pentecostal grandmother. He considered becoming a priest but instead chose to pursue acting.
Service in U.S Army
Wilson served in the United States Army from 1966 to 1968 and was in the fourth infantry division in Vietnam, where he was wounded upon returning home as a blues from a misplaced bag in 1972. Later in 1971, after appearing as a robber on All in the Family with Cleveland Little, Wilson won the role of Lamont Sanford in the NBC sitcom Sanford, and son johnny brown was considered for the role, but Wilson got the role instead because of his commitment to laugh in.
Wilson played Lamont through the run of the series and became the star when red fox walked off the show in 1974 over a salary dispute.
Wilson has written several Christian books about the new age movement and the hidden threats he believes it poses to society. His most recent book, New Age Millennium, was published on December 1, 1998, by Cap Publishing and Literary Co LLC. The book, according to Wilson, who has also written children’s books, is an expose of some new age symbols and slogans. Wilson’s book Second Banana: The Bittersweet Memoirs of the Sanford and Son Years was released on August 31, 2009, according to Wilson.
Appearance as a guest star
Wilson has also appeared on the praise show a number of times. The Lord show aired on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, and he also starred as a close friend of Clifton Davis in the UPN sitcom. In the summer of 2011, Wilson began acting alongside actress Nina Nicole in a touring production of playwright Matt Hardwick’s play The Measure of a Man. Wilson began work on the project in 2010 to produce and appear in a melodramatic family picture based on the play faith ties, which is characterized as a faith-based production set in a tiny village in south Georgia. “I play a broken down old drinker whose wife and daughter have been killed, and he’s given up on life,” Wilson says of the project. “The protagonist is a pastor caught in the middle, seeing the lives of others.” Wilson has been married to former model Cicely Johnston since May 3rd, 1974. They have a total of six children.