On Wednesday October 11, 2023, the comedy world lost one of its brightest stars. Cal Wilson, 53, passed away after a short illness – reported to be a rare and aggressive cancer – leaving behind husband Chris and son Digby, 14.
Now, celebrities and personalities are taking to social media to pay tribute to Cal Wilson, whose wit and talent left an indelible mark on the entertainment circuit.
Magda Szubanski was one of the first to react to the official announcement, which Cal’s management posted to Instagram.
“Oh Cal. I just wish so much that this wasn’t true,” she wrote. “Thank you so much for your humor and kindness. Sending all my love to your friends and family.”
“So soon, so young and so wrong!,” Shane Jacobson posted on his own Instagram feed. “Today laughter is replaced by broken hearts with the loss of a beautiful soul.”
Cal’s The Great Australian Bake Off co-host Natalie Tran was devastated. She immediately took to her social media to share her heartbreak over the loss of her colleague and good friend.
The Weekly‘s homes editor Wendy Moore had also worked with Cal. In addition to her on-air role on Selling Houses, Wendy is General Manager, Lifestyle, at Foxtel – the network which airs the beloved cooking series and as such, was instrumental in both casting and production.
“I’m so completely devastated to lose such an amazing, vibrant person as Cal,” she emotionally wrote. “Working with her has been so amazing, she instantly brought her unique sparkle to everything she did and everyone around her. Her genuine heartwarming humour instantly made you love her. We will all miss her so much.”
Past colleagues also wrote of their devastation, with Rove McManus sharing pictures of his peer and friend.
“I’m shaking,” wrote Grant Denyer, who – like Cal – had competed on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here. “How unbelievably sad. The most tender, kind, generous and talented performer I’ve ever had the pleasure to work alongside.”
The Weekly‘s regular columnist Denise Scott also took to Instagram to share her shock.
“Beautiful Cal Wilson shone like a beacon of joy and positivity in our often crusty cynical tough world of comedy,” wrote Denise. “She was so beloved by our community because she was truly great. RIP darling Cal. A true legend”
A slew of other comics including Julia Morris, Jane Kennedy, Melanie Bracewell and many others have also expressed their heartfelt condolences on their social media channels.
Who is Cal Wilson?
Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, Cal moved to Melbourne in 2003. She quickly established herself on the local comedy circuit as a stand up star. In addition, she appeared on shows including Rove Live, Spicks and Specks, Thank God You’re Here and Good News Week.
Not just a familiar name in comedy, Cal had a stint as a radio presenter for Nova, wrote two children’s books and recorded a Netflix comedy special. In recent years new audiences would find her thanks to a stint on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! and regular appearances on Have You Been Paying Attention? and The Project.
During COVID lockdowns, Cal also won fans by taking to Instagram to show off her home-crafted head dresses. Formed with plastic toys and shiny ornaments, she put them together with a hot glue gun. One person watching was Cairns artist Andrea Huelin. The duo connected and Andrea would go on to win the Archibald Packing Room Prize for her portrait of the comic.
“I just love the fact that so much time and talent and effort has gone into immortalising something as ridiculous as this,” Cal said of the win. “It’s such a thrill. I have not stopped beaming ever since I got the message from Andrea.”
There is no doubt the world is glad that her inimitable humour has been immortalised in this way, giving her fans something unique to always remember her by.