New Zealand stand-up comedian and writer Cal Wilson revealed the thing she hoped her son would “remember her for” in an interview that aired just two months before her shock death aged 53.
Wilson – who was best known for her work as a stand-up comedian and was most recently the host of Great Australian Bake Off – passed away following a “short illness”, her management said on Wednesday.
Speaking to host Adam Miller for his Bakeology podcast in August, Wilson had been talking fondly about family recipes that had been handed down to her in a book handwritten by her mum when she was asked a poignant question about her son, Digby, 14.
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“What do you think Digby will remember you for?” the podcast host asked.
“I think it will be for pancakes because that’s a fairly regular weekend thing.
“And when you serve the pancakes you throw them like a frisbee, the first couple, and then if you’re going to have maple syrup on them obviously you don’t do that,” Wilson replied.
“You always do the test pancake – hurl it across the kitchen.”
‘I’m shaking’: Australian celebrities react to shock death of comedian Cal Wilson
Much-loved comedian and writer Cal Wilson dies aged 53
As well as pancakes, Wilson told the host her son would remember her for “gingerbread” as she shared a fond memory.
“We make a lot of gingerbread together. Well we start making it together and he goes off with the lump of dough as any good child should.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Wilson reminisced about the recipes contained in her mum’s handwritten book, revealing she might “add to” the tome and pass it on to her son.
She also gave a candid insight into the very personal reason she only learned to swim as an adult.
Cal Wilson has died following a short illness. Credit: Instagram / calwilson
“I learnt to swim in the next lane to my son who was four. Because I couldn’t swim, I had him in swimming lessons as early as we could, so when he was about five months old we started going to swimming with him.
“Then I had this realisation that because he loved water and loved swimming that we would be in a situation one day where, perhaps, I would need to help him, say he got into trouble.
“And I was, like, he can’t be a better swimmer than me.
“I’ve got to be in a position where I could rescue him – what an anxiety mum thing to think.
“So I started having lessons and the thing for me was I always thought that everybody had the same experience as me but they just coped with it better.
“I would put my head in the water and water would rush up my nose and I go ‘this is the worst feeling in the world’ but everyone else seems fine with it.”
Cal Wilson has died aged 53. Credit: Instagram/Cal Wilson
Australians were left reeling on Wednesday when it was revealed that Wilson had died after a “short illness”.
“We are devastated to share the news that Cal Wilson, the much-loved stand-up comedian, writer and actor died today, surrounded by family and friends after a short illness at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney,” Token Artists said.
“Cal’s generosity, talent and friendship have been constants in the Australian comedy scene for the past 20 years.
“Cal was loved by her family, friends, fans and peers and a huge hole has been torn in the heart of our community.”
Cal Wilson was known for her flamoyant headwear. Credit: Instagram/Cal Wilson
Originally from Christchurch, Wilson moved to Melbourne in 2003 to star in the sketch show, Skithouse.
Wilson went on to become a favourite on shows such as Spicks And Specks, Good News Week and Would I Lie To You and starred in her own episode of Netflix stand-up comedy special, Comedians of the World.
She was named an ensemble cast member in Whose Line is it Anyway? Australia and later overcame her “aversion to the great outdoors” to join the cast of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! in 2022.
“In lockdown, Cal made elaborate and ridiculous headdresses that she shared with her online community and a painting of Cal wearing a headdress made of doll parts and Christmas baubles featured in the 2023 Archibald Prize, taking out the Packing Room Prize,” her management added.
Away from the screens and stages, Wilson also revealed her talent for children’s fiction, penning two books: George And The Great Bum Stampede and George And The Great Brain Swappery.
Wilson is survived by her husband Chris and son Digby.
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