After attending Franklin and Marshall College, Treat Williams acted with the prestigious Fulton Repertory troupe. Williams made his Broadway debut in Grease (1976) eventually taking over the leading role of Danny Zuko. His later Broadway credits included the musicals Over Here and Pirates of Penzance and the reader's-theatre exercise Love Letters. In films from 1976, he scored his first significant success as the draft-resistant protagonist of Milos Forman's Hair (1979). He went on to play the title role in The Pursuit of D. B. Cooper (1981), then gained positive critical notice for his work as reluctant interdepartmental police informant Daniel Ciello in Prince of the City (1981). His later film roles included mob-connected labor organizer Jimmy O'Donnell in Once Upon a Time in America (1984) and the seductive James Dean clone in Smooth Talk (1985). Famed for his willingness to tackle any sort of role, Williams' artistic ambitions are backed up by his versatility and astonishing vocal flexibility. On TV, Williams played Stanley Kowalski opposite Ann-Margret's Blanche Dubois in Streetcar Named Desire (1984) and was appropriately sharkish as superagent Mike Ovitz in The Late Shift (1996). He also starred in the weekly series Eddie Dodd (1991) and Good Advice (1995). Many of Treat Williams' recent film roles have exhibited a fondness for expansive, scenery-chewing villainy, notably megalomanic Xander Drax in The Phantom (1995).
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Was an understudy to John Travolta on Broadway in Grease in 1973, later taking over for him.
- Costarred with Travolta and the Andrews Sisters on stage in 1974's Over Here.
- Made film debut as a detective in the screen version of The Ritz (1976).
- Appeared opposite Blythe Danner and Judith Ivey in the 2001 Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's Follies.
- Portrayed patriarch Dr. Andrew Brown on The WB's Everwood for four seasons.
- Fulfilled a childhood dream by earning a pilot license in 1973, becoming a certified flight instructor and authoring the 2010 children's book Air Show!