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Willie Garson, 'Sex and the City' and 'White Collar' Star, Dies at 57

Updated: Sep 23, 2021

The fan favorite had been battling cancer.

Willie Garson
Willie Garson [Taylor Jewell, Invision/AP]

Willie Garson, a cherished actor best known for his memorable turns in Sex and the City and White Collar, has died. A family member of Garson's confirmed his death to Variety. He was 57.

Garson's popularity skyrocketed when he was cast in HBO's seminal series Sex and the City. He portrayed the lovable Stanford, a talent agent and best friend of Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker). Garson reprised the role in the franchise's feature films Sex and the City (2008) and Sex and the City 2 (2010). He had been currently working on HBO Max's forthcoming revival series And Just Like That.

“Willie Garson was in life, as on screen, a devoted friend and a bright light for everyone in his universe,” a statement from HBO/HBO Max read. “He created one of the most beloved characters from the HBO pantheon and was a member of our family for nearly twenty-five years. We are deeply saddened to learn of his passing and extend our sincere condolences to his family and loved ones.”

Michael Patrick King, the executive producer of Sex and the City as well as And Just Like That, paid his own personal tribute.

“The Sex and the City family has lost one of its own. Our amazing Willie Garson. His spirit and his dedication to his craft was present every day filming ‘And Just Like That.’ He was there — giving us his all — even while he was sick. His multitude of gifts as an actor and person will be missed by everyone. In this sad, dark moment we are comforted by our memory of his joy and light.”

Mario Cantone, Garson's on-screen partner in Sex and the City, posted touching words about his co-star and friend on Twitter.

“I couldn’t have had a more brilliant TV partner,” Cantone said. “I’m devastated and just overwhelmed with Sadness. Taken away from all of us way soon. You were a gift from the gods. Rest my sweet friend. I love you.”

After Sex and the City went off the air in 2004, Garson found success once again starring as conman Mozzie on USA Network series White Collar from 2009 to 2014.

Matt Bomer, who starred alongside Garson in the series, tweeted a touching tribute.

"I love you forever Willie Garson. Rest in peace my friend."

Willie Garson was born William Garson Paszamant on February 20, 1964 in Highland Park, NJ. He studied theater at Wesleyan University and received a Master of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama. After graduating, Garson began to book small roles on some of the most popular television shows at the time including Cheers and Family Ties in 1982, and L.A. Law in 1986.

He scored a reoccurring role on Quantum Leap, appearing in three episodes from 1989 to 1992.

Some of Garson's most high-profile TV appearances include Friends, The X-Files, Boy Meets World, Ally McBeal, Twin Peaks, Melrose Place, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. More recently, Garson garnered roles on Two and a Half Men, Hot in Cleveland, Stargate SG-1, and Pushing Daisies.

Garson took his turn in the director's chair on White Collar and the Boy Meets World sequel series Girl Meets World, in which he also guest starred.

While he was a television giant, Garson also had several major film roles including Peter Farrelly/Bobby Farrelly-directed flicks KingPin (1996), There’s Something About Mary (1998) and Fever Pitch (2005). His other film credits included Soapdish (1991), Groundhog Day (1993), Being John Malkovich (1999), Freaky Friday (2003), and Little Manhattan (2005).

Lately, Garson lent his voiceover talents to the Netflix hit Big Mouth and had a reoccurring role on Supergirl from 2019 to 2020.

Posthumously, he is set to appear in the forthcoming HBO Max series And Just Like That as well as the show Dukes of the Valley.

Willie Garson is survived by his brother John Paszamant, nephews Joshua Paszamant, Michael Paszamant, sister Lisa Clark, nieces Katie Clark, Jenna Clark and Amanda Clark, and his adopted son Nathen Garson.

- Matt Bishop


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