Alison Wilke, also known professionally as A.W. Gryphon, was a producer and writer known for her work on films such as Race to Witch Mountain (2009), Vertical Limit (2000), and TRON: Legacy (2010). She was born on November 7, 1972, in Manhasset, New York, USA, and passed away on November 14, 2016, in Pasadena, California, USA, due to breast cancer.
In addition to her work in the film industry, Wilke was an advocate for cancer education and support, creating The Why Foundation to help educate people about cancer and support those living with the disease. She is memorialized in the end credits of the TV series The OA, where she served as an associate producer.
The final chapter of Part I includes a dedication to Allison Wilke. Wilke, also known professionally as A.W. Gryphon, was a producer on the series who died of breast cancer three days after the series was finished and a month before its release.
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Who Is Alison Wilke?
Alison Wilke, also known professionally as A.W. Gryphon, was a talented producer who worked on the acclaimed AMC series Breaking Bad. Her sudden and heartbreaking death from breast cancer in 2011, at just 41 years old, deeply impacted the show's cast and crew.
She played a vital role behind the scenes for several seasons and received a touching dedication in the finale episode. This guide will provide an in-depth look at Wilke's career, her legacy on Breaking Bad, and the meaning of her dedication.
Alison Wilke's Production Role on Breaking Bad
Alison Wilke served as a co-executive producer on Breaking Bad throughout the show's final seasons. As a co-EP, she had senior oversight on many aspects of the production. Her responsibilities likely included:
- Overseeing ongoing story and character development.
- Reviewing and providing notes on scripts.
- Helping hire writers, directors, and department heads.
- Monitoring shooting schedules and budgets.
- Working with the showrunner to shape the overall creative direction.
- Serving as a liaison between the production team and the network.
Sources describe Wilke playing an “instrumental” role and having broad influence over the show's quality and style. She helped scout locations, guide the exceptional cinematography, and ensure episodes adhered to creator Vince Gilligan's vision.
Her extensive TV experience and trusted creative instincts were invaluable to Breaking Bad's success. Co-star Bryan Cranston called Wilke a “force” whose passion shone through in their work.
Reactions to Wilke's Death from the Breaking Bad Family
Wilke passed away just three days after production wrapped on Breaking Bad's finale on March 31, 2011. The show's cast and crew were devastated by the sudden loss of their close colleague and friend.
Co-executive producer Melissa Bernstein said Wilke had privately battled breast cancer during their intense work on the season. Bernstein praised Wilke's “lively spirit” and said her death “leaves a void that can never be filled.”
Actor Aaron Paul wrote that Wilke “put her heart and soul into every episode of BB.” He said her dedication was “greatly admired” and she would be sorely missed.
The core Breaking Bad team spent long hours together crafting the show's complex story. That shared vision made Wilke's early passing at 41 profoundly tragic for all involved.
The Significance of Wilke's Finale Dedication
The last ever episode of Breaking Bad, titled “Felina,” concludes with a special end credit: “In memory of our friend Allison Wilke.”
This memorial dedication served as a final tribute to Wilke's years of exemplary work on the show. TV critic Alan Sepinwall said the dedication carried extra poignancy considering the episode's themes of mortality.
Wilke's creativity and leadership were instrumental in making Breaking Bad an artistic triumph. The show won 16 Emmy Awards including four Outstanding Drama Series wins.
Honoring Wilke so prominently in the globally-watched finale memorialized her contributions to this groundbreaking series. Gilligan called it a fitting way to “let the world know how much we valued Allison.”
Alison Wilke's Background and Career
A native New Yorker, Alison Wilke first broke into television working as a post-production supervisor on ABC’s Roseanne in the early 1990s.
Wilke quickly rose through the production ranks on shows like Cybill, Dharma & Greg, and My Name is Earl where she served as a producer, co-producer, and eventual co-executive producer.
Vince Gilligan first hired Wilke as a co-producer when she joined the Breaking Bad team for Season 2 in 2009. She continued as co-executive producer until her death in 2011.
Colleagues praised Wilke as an industry veteran with exceptional creativity, work ethic, and mentorship skills. She contributed to many memorable TV productions before her contributions were cut tragically short.
Key Career Milestones:
|1997-2002||Dharma & Greg||Co-Producer|
|2005-2008||My Name is Earl||Co-Executive Producer|
|2009-2011||Breaking Bad||Co-Executive Producer|
The Loss of Women Like Wilke in TV Production
Wilke's death also underscored the pressing issue of breast cancer among women working in television production.
Studies indicate women employed in film and TV exhibit a higher risk of breast cancer. Factors, like disrupted circadian rhythms from shift work, may contribute to increased dangers for diseases like breast cancer.
Losing gifted producers like Wilke heightens concerns over cancer risks and health resources for women behind the scenes in entertainment. More research and support is critically needed to prevent similar tragedies.
Conclusion: Alison Wilke's Enduring Legacy
The shocking loss of producer Alison Wilke left an emptiness for the Breaking Bad family who so cherished her humor, strength, and talents. Wilke's outstanding work was integral to the show's success. memorial dedication in the iconic finale episode forever preserved her creative impact on one of this golden age's greatest television accomplishments.
Though gone too soon at 41, Wilke left an indelible mark on Breaking Bad through her dedicated work and vibrant spirit. Her memory lives on through the dazzling, unforgettable series she helped bring to life.