Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Godspeed Willie Garson

Willie Garson, who played Mozzie on the TV series White Collar and appeared on numerous other shows, died yesterday, September 21 2021, at the age of 57. The cause was pancreatic cancer.

Willie Garson was born William Garson Paszamant in Highland Park, New Jersey. He studied theatre at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. He received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale Drama School.

Willie Garson made his television debut in the mini-series The Deliberate Stranger. Later in the Eighties he had recurring roles on Mr. Belvedere and It's a Living. He guest starred on the shows Family Ties, Cheers, You Again?, The New Gidget, The Disney Sunday Movie, My Two Dads, Newhart, Coach, Chicken Soup, Thirtysomething, and Booker. He made his movie debut in Troop Beverly Hills in 1989. He also appeared in the movies Brain Dead (1990), Across the Tracks (1990), The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990), and Repossessed (1990).

In the Nineties Mr. Garson had a recurring role on NYPD Blue. He was a regular on the short-lived sitcom Ask Harriet. He guest starred on the shows Twin Peaks, American Playhouse, Quantum Leap, L.A. Law, Flying Blind, A League of Their Own, Moon Over Miami, Renegade, Black Sheep, Pig Sty, The Monroes, Madtv, Partners, Mad About You, The Single Guy, Touched by an Angel, VR.5, Caroline in the City, The Practice, Melrose Place, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ally McBeal, Conrad Bloom, Party of Five, Star Trek: Voyager, Friends, Just Shoot Me!, Early Edition, Boy Meets World, Nash Bridges, The X-Files, City of Angels, Hollywood Off-Ramp, Level 9, and Spin City. He appeared in the movies Soapdish (1991), Mobsters (1991), Ruby (1992), When the Party's Over (1992), Groundhog Day (1992), Untamed Heart (1993), Every Breath (1994), Speechless (1994), Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995), The Tie That Binds (1995), Cityscrapes: Los Angles (1996), The Destiny of Marty Fine (1996), The Rock (1996), Kingpin (1996), Mars Attacks! (1996), Alone in the Woods (1996), Cyclops, Baby (1997), There's Something About Mary (1998), Living Out Loud (1998), The Suburbans (1999), Play It to the Bone (1999), Fortress 2 (2000), What Planet Are You From? (2000), and Our Lips Are Sealed (2000).

In the Naughts Willie Garson began his long run as Mozzie, con man and the best friend of protagonist Neal Caffrey, on White Collar. He was a regular on the short-lived show John from Cincinnati. He played the recurring role of Stanford Blatch, a friend of protagonist Carrie Bradshaw, on Sex in the City. He guest starred on the shows Going to California; Special Unit 2; Taken; Greetings from Tuscon; CSI: Crime Scene Investigation; All About the Andersons; Yes, Dear; The Division; Monk; Wild Card; Las Vegas, Stargate SG-1; CSI: Miami; Chocolate News; Wizards of Waverly Place; Pushing Daisies; Medium; Mental; and Imagination Movers. He appeared in the movies Out Cold (2001), Thank Heaven (2001), Luster (2002), Freaky Friday (2003), A Problem with Fear (2004), Seeing Other People (2004), House of D (2004), Fever Pitch (2005), Just Like Heaven (2005), Little Manhattan (2005), The TV Set (2006), Zoom (2006), Hard Four (2007), Beau Jest (2008), Sex and the City (2008), Shannon's Rainbow (2009), Labor Pains (2009), Sex and the City 2 (2010), Monster Heroes (2010), and Ashley's Ashes.

In the Teens Willie Garson continued to play Mozzie on White Collar. He played one of the leads on the TV series Whole Day Down. He had a recurring role on Hawaii Five-0. He guest starred on the shows The Whole Truth, Hot in Cleveland, In Session with Jonathan Pessin, Two and a Half Men, Wendell and Vinnie, How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life), Girl Meets World, Franklin & Bash, The Mysteries of Laura, Salvation, Conversations in L.A., Magnum P.I. (2018), Supergirl, Quarantine, and Big Mouth. He appeared in the movies Walk of Shame (2014), Trust Fund (2016), The Polka King (2017), Feed (2017), 7 Days in Vegas (2017), The Bellmen (2020), and Magic Camp (2020). This year he appeared in the movie Before I Go. He was set to appear in the Sex and the City sequel And Just Like That.

Willie Garson was an incredible actor. It was largely due to his performance that Mozzie is often the favourite character of many White Collar fans. Mozzie had a knack for uncovering information others could not and he had a photographic memory as well. And while he was a con man, he often tended to be soft-hearted. Of course, Mozzie was not the only role Willie Garson played. In the X-Files episode "The Goldberg Variation," he played Henry Meems, a man with a fascination for Rube Goldberg devices who seems to be able to defy death. On NYPD Blue, he played the maintenance man of protagonist Bobby Simone's apartment, Henry Coffield. Although he was known for playing lovable characters, Willie Garson could play unsympathetic characters as well. On the TV show Taken, he played a Dr. Kreutz, a former Nazi scientist who has no qualms about how he test subjects in experiments. Willie Garson was a wonderful actor who could play a wide variety of roles and play all of them very well.

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