1951-2023 Treat Williams
MY MOST INDELIBLE memory of Treat Williams occurred in 2017 during a cast reunion of the tear-jerking WB soap Everwood (2002-06) in Beverly Hills. He gave a paternal hug to Vivien Cardone, who played his TV daughter Delia, when she recalled how he had volunteered to be her “temporary father” on location in Utah, where he was missing his own family. “Of all the things I’ve done…this is right there at the top,” he said of Everwood.
There was plenty of competition. The actor, who died at 71 on June 12 in a motorcycle accident near his Vermont home, enjoyed a prolific career that began in Broadway musicals (a replacement Danny Zuko in Grease). He soon began starring in movies, including the 1979 film version of Hair as Berger, leader of a hippie tribe, and as a New York City detective exposing corruption in Sidney Lumet’s 1981 Prince of the City.
His most enduring fame was on TV, perhaps peaking with Everwood (inset with costar Anne Heche), an emotional family drama in which he played widowed Dr. Andy Brown, who relocated from New York City to Colorado to raise his two kids. Earlier, Williams’ natural warmth and leading-man charisma had served him well in TV-movie biopics of boxer Jack Dempsey (1983) and FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover (1987). He was nominated for a Golden Globe as a smoldering Stanley Kowalski opposite Ann-Margaret’s Blanche in a 1984 adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire, and earned an Emmy nod as a notorious superagent Michael Ovitz in HBO’s The Late Shift (1996).
Williams made his return to the family-soap genre as patriarch Mick O’Brien in Hallmark Channel’s heartwarming Chesapeake Shores (2016-22). He was a familiar face in recurring roles on White Collar (as series star Matt Bomer’s dad), Chicago Fire (as star Taylor Kinney’s estranged father) and most recently on Blue Bloods as Frank’s (Tom Selleck) partner Lenny Ross, who always seemed to be in a jam. (His last appearance aired in May.)
Selleck remembered his costar fondly, telling People, “It has been said that we are all just passing time and occupy our chair very briefly. My friend Treat was aptly named and occupied his chair so well. I will miss him but I will not forget him.”
Neither will his many fans.
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