Willie Garson, the actor known for playing Carrie Bradshaw’s gay best friend, Stanford Blatch, on Sex and the City, has died at age 57.
In addition to the original Sex and the City TV series, Garson appeared in both movie spin-offs and was filming the reboot, And Just Like That, for HBO. His character, a talent agent, was always well-dressed and ready with a witty quip.
Garson was straight but stayed in the closet about his sexuality during the run of the show, saying he didn’t want to offend gay people. In a Page Six interview last year, he referred to “people playing gay characters jumping up and down screaming that they’re not gay, like that would somehow be a bad thing if they were.”
His SATC character married Anthony (Mario Cantone) in the film Sex and the City 2, in a musical extravaganza featuring Liza Minnelli. Cantone mourned Garson in a Twitter post, noting, “I couldn’t have had a more brilliant TV partner.”
Garson never married but adopted a son, Nathen, who paid tribute on Instagram.
Michael Patrick King, executive producer of SATC and And Just Like That, released this statement, according to Variety: “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.”
And there was a statement from HBO/HBO Max as well: “Willie Garson was in life, as on screen, a devoted friend and a bright light for everyone in his universe. 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.”
While best known for SATC and for playing con man Mozzie on White Collar, Garson appeared in more than 70 films and about 300 TV episodes over the course of his career. His movies included There’s Something About Mary, Fever Pitch, Soapdish, Groundhog Day, and Being John Malkovich. On TV he acted in a broad range of shows — The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, NYPD Blue, Family Ties, Hawaii Five-O — and directed episodes of White Collar and Girl Meets World.