Australian comedy icon Cal Wilson passes away at 53

Cal Wilson

Cal Wilson, a renowned stand-up comedian and TV host, has died at the age of 53 after a short illness. Wilson, who was born in New Zealand but moved to Australia in 2003, was a regular on the Australian comedy circuit for 20 years. She performed at the Melbourne International Comedy festival 14 times and had her own Netflix comedy special.

Cal Wilson

Wilson was also one of the co-hosts of The Great Australian Bake Off, a popular reality show based on the British format. She was in production for the show when she was admitted to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, where she passed away surrounded by her family and friends.

Her management, Token Artists, released a statement announcing her death and expressing their grief. “Cal’s generosity, talent and friendship have been constants in the Australian comedy scene for the last 20 years,” the statement read. “Cal was loved by her family, friends, fans and peers and a huge hole has been torn in the heart of our community.”

Tributes from celebrities and fans

Many celebrities and fans took to social media to pay tribute to Wilson and share their memories of her. Actor Rebel Wilson, who worked with Cal on several projects, wrote on Instagram: “This is so tragic and my heart goes out to Cal’s family. I was very very lucky to work with Cal on multiple projects especially over the last few years where she wrote brilliant material for me. She was amazingly talented and amazingly kind.”

Adam Hills, the presenter and comedian who hosted The Last Leg with Cal, tweeted: “The news of Cal’s death has broken me slightly but the outpouring of love for her has been so heartwarming. She was one of life’s best people and she made everyone happy. Everyone. Off stage and on. That’s how you live a life. May her spirit live on. Love ya Calbo.”

QI, the BBC panel show that featured Cal as a guest in 2012, also posted a message of condolence on Twitter: “Everyone at QI is extremely saddened to learn of the passing of Cal Wilson, a brilliant comedian, panellist and member of the QI family. Our thoughts are with her friends and family.”

A legacy of laughter and creativity

Wilson was known for her witty and sharp humour, as well as her creative flair. During the COVID-19 lockdowns, she engaged with her followers by posting pictures of elaborate headdresses made from various objects. A portrait of her wearing a headdress made of doll parts and Christmas baubles won the Packing Room Prize at the 2023 Archibald Prize.

Wilson also wrote several books, including George and Ghost (2011), a children’s book about a boy and his imaginary friend, and Grumpy Little King (2013), a humorous tale about a king who learns to share. She also contributed to anthologies such as Women of Letters (2011) and Growing Up Asian in Australia (2008).

Wilson is survived by her husband Chris and her son Digby.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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