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Willie Garson died from pancreatic cancer.
The Sex and the City star's cause of death was revealed by his family in his New York Times obituary. It also said the 57-year-old single dad of a 20-year-old adopted son, Nathen, died at his Los Angeles home.
The write-up was filed under the actor's real name, William Garson Paszamant, but noted he was "better known ... to his many fans and throughout the entertainment industry" by his stage name. Fans know him best as Carrie Bradshaw's male BFF/sidekick Stanford Blatch in the original HBO series, the two films and the upcoming HBO Max revival, And Just Like That...
Garson actually appeared in over 300 television shows — White Collar, Hawaii-Five-0 and Supergirl among them — and over 70 movies including There's Something About Mary, Being John Malkovich and Groundhog Day. He worked with many notable directors, from the Farrelly brothers to Mike Nichols.
"At an early age, he knew he was an actor, and had an agent by the time he graduated high school," it said of the New Jersey native, who was 57. After attending Wesleyan University and getting a degree in theatre and psychology, "He moved to Los Angeles at age 21, and within a year, had become what he was destined to be, a working actor. A working actor has been defined as 'an actor who while never achieving stardom, has a long and productive career and earns a better than decent living and has the admiration of his peers.' Nothing could better describe Garson."
Noting Garson was "a ubiquitous presence in American pop culture," it talked about how he "could be a classmate of Michael J. Fox on Family Ties or a waiter on a Cheers episode, or L. Harvey Oswald in an independent film Ruby or Bill Murray's assistant in Groundhog Day. He could just as easily be a TV executive in Soapdish as a man with mysterious luck in The X-Files as the president of an apartment board on Friends."
It talked about his interests outside acting, noting he was a "world-class poker player, having been nicknamed Evil Willie on the first episode of Celebrity Poker Showdown."
Garson's extensive charity work was also detailed and the Alliance for Children's Rights, which facilitates adoptions in L.A. County, was called out as having a "special place in the Garson family." It was through that organization that he "adopted his son Nathen in Los Angeles in 2010." He went on to twice serve as national spokesman for National Adoption Day.
The family requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his name to the Alliance for Children's Rights.
Garson didn't publicly disclose his cancer battle, so his death Tuesday was a shock. Tributes flowed in immediately, including a very touching one from Nathen to his "Papa." His Sex and the City Sarah Jessica Parker said she was "not ready" to publicly address his death. The co-stars had been friends since the mid-1980s after being set up on a blind date.