‘Home Improvement’ Star Earl Hindman: Here’s How the ‘Wilson’ Actor Died

by Josh Lanier

Tim Allen recently resurrected his Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor character for the final season of his show Last Man Standing. The crossover event got fans excited about a potential reboot of the popular 1990s sitcom, but Allen has said that likely won’t happen after the death of Earl Hindman.

Hindman played sage next-door neighbor Wilson who fans only ever saw from the nose up, a symbolic nod to the character’s big brain. But aside from his wisdom, he was a vital part of the show as well as Allen’s life. He said doing the crossover episode reminded him how much he missed his friend.

“I adored the man, and we kind of brought that up in the story,” Allen told Entertainment Tonight. “I started thinking about all the history I had with that TV show, how I compare it to my life on this show. It’s all about loss, is all I kept saying in that episode.”

‘Last Man Standing’ Pays Respects to Earl Hindman

Allen said it was important for him to include Earl Hindman in the episode titled “Dual Time.” He had been such an integral part of Home Improvement that not mentioning him would have felt inadequate.

In Last Man Standing Tim Taylor is able to open to his doppelganger Mike Baxter because he can only see the top of his head over a door. A direct callback to Hindman’s Wilson, something Taylor points out.

“Who was Wilson?” Baxter asks.

“One of my neighbors, actually,” Tim Taylor says in the episode. “For many, many years, I shared a lot of stuff with him. He passed away.”

Later, he adds: “I miss Wilson. I miss a lot of stuff.”

Allen told EW of the tribute, “Earl meant the world to me and everyone at Home Improvement. It was an organic moment to settle on, both on the set and in our hearts.”

Hindman died in 2003 of lung cancer. He was a lifelong actor. Before he was peaking over the fence on Home Improvement the Bisbee, Ariz. native was solving crimes as Detective Lt. Bob Reid on the ABC drama Ryan’s Hope.

Home Improvement ran for eight seasons from 1991 until 1998. ABC produced 204 episodes of the show.