Treat Williams, ‘Hair’ and ‘Everwood’ Star, Dies at 71

Treat Williams, a veteran screen actor who received acclaim for his lead performance in the musical “Hair” and starred in The WB series “Everwood,” died Monday afternoon after being involved in a motorcycle accident near Dorset, Vt. He was 71.

Williams’ death was confirmed by a statement by his family, released by his agency APA. Vermont State Police reported a road closure near Dorset due to a motor vehicle accident at 5:24 p.m. He was transferred to Albany Medical Center in Albany, N.Y.

“It is with great sadness that we report that our beloved Treat Williams has passed away tonight in Dorset, Vt. after a fatal motorcycle accident,” reads the statement. “As you can imagine, we are shocked and greatly bereaved at this time. Treat was full of love for his family, for his life and for his craft, and was truly at the top of his game in all of it. It is all so shocking right now, but please know that Treat was dearly and deeply loved and respected by his family and everyone who knew him. We are beyond devastated and ask that you respect our privacy as we deal with our grief. To all his fans, please know that Treat appreciated all of you and please continue to keep him in your hearts and prayers.”

Williams’ versatility and ease with drama and comedy kept him working throughout his career, even as his movie stardom credentials ebbed and flowed. Among his recent projects was playing CBS founder and chairman Bill Paley in FX’s upcoming limited series “Feud: Capote’s Women,” which revolves around author Truman Capote and the New York and European jet set that he ran with in the 1960s and ’70s, which included Paley’s wife, Babe Paley.

“Treat Williams leaves behind a legacy of remarkable performances in film and television, and an indelible mark on the entire industry,” FX and “Feud” studio 20th Television said in a statement. “All who were fortunate enough to work with Treat over his four decade career would agree that his incredible talent was matched only by his utter kindness. He was a friend and inspiration to many, and he will be deeply missed by his colleagues.”

Actor Gregory Smith, who played Williams’ son Ephram on “Everwood,” shared a statement with Variety following the news: “This news is devastating. Treat was a wonderful man and a brilliant actor. Above all, he loved his family so much. I’m very grateful for the time I got to spend as part of his extended TV family. He made an indelible impression on me during my most formative years. I will always cherish my time with Treat and think fondly of his stories, his laugh and his passion for adventure. I’m sending love to his family, Pam, Gil and Elinor. He will be deeply missed.”

At the age of 28, Williams received acclaim for his performance in “Hair,” Miloš Forman’s big screen adaptation of the hit Broadway musical. Williams earned a Golden Globe nomination in the now-defunct category new star of the year (actor). Two years later he was competing again, this time in best actor in a motion picture drama for his performance in Sidney Lumet’s “Prince of the City.”

Among Williams’ other notable film credits are his lead turn alongside Laura Dern in the coming-of-age romance “Smooth Talk,” which released in 1985 and earned Williams an Independent Spirit nomination for best male lead. He also starred in “Deep Rising,” the now cult ’90s aquatic creature feature that centered on Williams’ captain and his crew’s struggle to survive.

Williams landed his most notable TV role with “Everwood,” starring as Dr. Andy Brown, a Manhattan neurosurgeon who relocates his family to rural Colorado after the death of his wife. Williams headlined The WB Network series from producer Greg Berlanti ran four seasons, earning a Screen Actors Guild award nomination for outstanding performance by a male actor in a drama series.

A television regular, Williams would often make guest appearances, with recurring roles on “White Collar,” “Chicago Fire,” “We Own This City” and “Blue Bloods.” Playing a construction family patriarch, he was a main cast member of “Chesapeake Shores,” which concluded a six-season run on the Hallmark Channel last October. Williams appeared in “Blue Bloods” in May on the episode “Irish Exits.”

Born Richard Treat Williams on Dec. 1, 1951 in Rowayton, Conn., Williams graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania before moving into an acting career. He made his screen debut in 1975 with a role in the feature “Deadly Hero” before landing the lead role of “Hair.”

Williams is survived by his wife, Pam Van Sant; and their children, Gil and Elinor Williams.

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