The Walking Dead alum Michael Cudlitz, who portrayed fan-favorite Abraham Ford on the zombie drama series, turned 53 today.
A take-no-shit former Army Sergeant, the brash redhead had a penchant for crafting euphemisms — dubbed “Abraham-isms” — that were often as crude as they were clever.
The self-appointed protector of a defenseless Eugene, the then-purported savior of humanity, Abraham was a fiercely loyal commander who ultimately met his gruesome end in the early moments of The Walking Dead’s season 7 premiere, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be.”
Rick Grimes and his close-knit band of survivors — including Carl, Aaron, Eugene, Abe and new lover Sasha — departed their walled-off Alexandria community with a bed-ridden Maggie on a mission to the Hilltop, where a sickly and pregnant Maggie would receive much-needed medical attention.
Along the way, Rick’s crew were intercepted by the Saviors — an army of extortionists ruled with an iron fist by Negan, who introduced himself with a new set of rules: you work for me. Your sh—t belongs to me.
Negan’s line-up grew to include more of Rick’s people — Daryl, Michonne, Glenn and Rosita — who were subjected to Negan’s terror as the bat-wielding villain played a deadly game of eeny, meeny, miny, moe.
Abraham was “it,” and it was a defiant Abe who straightened out his spine and met his death with the same “f—k you” attitude that caused him to be selected by Negan in the first place: Abraham Ford would never be subjugated by anyone.
Flashing one last peace sign to Sasha, Abraham took the first blow of Negan’s barbwire-wrapped bat, Lucille, like a champ. “Suck… my… nuts,” he said, earning him a second blow.
Negan mercilessly bludgeoned Abraham to death, turning his head to bloody mush.
Abe’s death wasn’t in vain: by showing no fear and a refusal to cower, Abe effectively offered himself up to Negan — sparing his friends. Abe wouldn’t be alive to see the fate that then ultimately befell close friend Glenn immediately after his death, but Abraham Ford’s best moment ultimately proved to be his last.
Cudlitz stated in August he’s open to returning to the show by way of flashback.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC with its season 8 mid-season premiere February 25.