A bald and frequently bespectacled screen presence whose "average Joe" appearance and keen talent allow him the unique ability to truly transform into the character at hand, Willie Garson may have won over Sex and the City viewers as protagonist Carrie's (Sarah Jessica Parker) endlessly loyal friend, but with over a decade of film and television appearances to his credit by that time, his success should certainly be labeled more "long-time coming" than "overnight sensation." Garson began training as an actor at New York's Actor's Institute in his early teens, and in the years following high school graduation he studied theater and psychology at Wesleyan University. It didn't take long for the talented stage and screen presence to find roles following his higher education, with guest appearances in such popular television shows as Family Ties, Mr. Belvedere, and Quantum Leap eventually leading to a supporting role in the well-received made-for-television feature The Deliberate Stranger. If his film roles throughout the majority of the '90s were generally of the thankless variety, Garson nevertheless grew increasingly active thanks to roles in such high-profile features as Groundhog Day, Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead, The Rock, and There's Something About Mary. A three-year stint in a supporting role in NYPD Blue showed Garson lending the series a decidedly human presence as Detective Simone's (Jimmy Smits) landlord. The stage-minded actor never forgot his roots, remaining constantly active with such New York-based theater companies as The Manhattan Theatre Club and The Roundabout Table. A long-time friend of actress Parker, Garson's friendship with the actress no doubt contributed to the easy rapport shared by the duo in the hit HBO series Sex and the City. With subsequent roles in Steven Spielberg's acclaimed sci-fi miniseries Taken, and in addition to such features as Freaky Friday proving that he was as much an "actor's actor" as a crowd-pleaser, Garson's post-Sex and the City career seemed as healthy as ever. He worked steadily in projects such as House of D, Fever Pitch, and in appeared in Jackass: Number Two. He returned to the small-screen as the lead in the series White Collar in 2009. In his increasingly non-existent spare time, Garson can be found reading to school children on a weekly basis as part of the Screen Actors Guild popular "Bookpals" program.
Biography by Jason Buchanan
- In his early teens, began studying acting at the Actors Institute in New York.
- Performed with several theater companies, including Naked Angels, the Manhattan Theatre Club, the Roundabout Theatre and Geffen Playhouse.
- Long before he was chosen to be part of the cast of the hit HBO series Sex and the City (1998-2004), he was close friends with Sarah Jessica Parker for many years.
- Has appeared in minor roles in more than 75 movies, including the Farrelly Brothers' films Kingpin (1996), There's Something About Mary (1998) and Fever Pitch (2005). Has also guest-starred on more than 250 episodes of television series, including Friends, NYPD Blue and The X-Files.
- Winner of the first Texas Hold 'Em event on Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown in 2003.
- Active in several charities, including Habitat for Humanity, Joslin Diabetes Camp, Big Brothers, Young Artists United and the Screen Actors Guild Bookpals.
- Adopted his son, Nathen, in 2010 when the boy was 8 years old, and was named national spokesperson for National Adoption Day 2011.