We love, love, love Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon on The Walking Dead, but as the 44-year-old actor tells TV Guide, he’s just as grateful for the role as viewers are to see him in it. Though Norman had a successful career as a model and appeared in some movies — Boondock Saints, anyone? — prior to his TWD days, he credits the AMC show for reviving his career and renewing his love of acting.

“The constant up-and-down roller coaster of this business was getting on my nerves," he notes. "But this job rebuilt my faith in what I do, finding the love for it again."

Though Daryl isn’t even in the TWD comics off which the show is based, his gritty, sexy character — coupled with Norman’s expert portrayal — immediately struck a chord with fans. In the eloquent words of TWD producer Gale Anne Hurd, “No one brings a compelling, albeit broken, character like Daryl Dixon to life like Norman Reedus.” Amen, Gale. Amen.

Norman (and Daryl) have clearly been a blessing to TWD, but could this new flu-like illness take out our resident bad boy for good? We have reason to believe Big D. could be infected, and a tidbit from the TV Guide story about Daryl and Baby Judith seems to suggest the same.

Speaking of the sickness specifically, the article mentions that “Daryl must keep his distance from the little one,” the little one being Baby Judith. Turns out Norman has grown quite fond of his tiny co-star, and he’s none too pleased with their separation, declaring, "Everybody's had a turn with the baby this season except me!"

Although Norman unfortunately has no say over whether or not Daryl will die, he’s in no rush to turn. “I don't want to be a zombie ever. I don't even want to put that makeup on," he says. "I don't want to say goodbye to everybody. I will play Daryl Dixon until I'm 80 years old."

Are you surprised by how passionate Norman is about TWD? Tell us your thoughts below!

The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 2: “Infected” airs this Sunday, October 20 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.

Source: TV Guide