Treat Williams, a name that resonates with vibrancy and charisma, has sadly left us at the age of 71. Known for his roles in the movies “Hair” and “Deep Rising” and the TV show “Everwood,” Williams was more than just an actor, he was a force of nature.
Williams’ life was tragically cut short in a motorcycle accident near the Vermont-New York State border. He was thrown from his motorcycle after an SUV crashed into him, unable to avoid the collision. Despite wearing a helmet, he suffered critical injuries and was pronounced dead at a medical center in Albany, N.Y. We lost an extraordinary man and an exceptional talent that day.
Born Richard Treat Williams in Stamford, Connecticut, in 1951, the name “Treat” a family heritage, he had an idyllic childhood, growing up in Rowayton, Connecticut. Looking back on his younger years, he realized only later how truly idyllic it was. His father, a World War II veteran, worked for the Merck pharmaceutical company, and his mother owned a sailing and swimming school on Long Island Sound.
Williams began his acting career in seventh grade and made the decision to focus on acting during his time at Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania. He quickly made his way to Broadway, serving as the understudy to four of the male leads in “Grease,” including John Travolta. This was the start of his journey in the limelight, and he never looked back.
One of his most recognized roles was playing a hippie in the 1979 film version of “Hair,” directed by Milos Foreman. The film became a cultural touchstone, and Williams’ performance was integral to its success. However, his journey was not always smooth sailing. After a movie he starred in flopped in 1980, Williams felt out of control and started flying planes for a company in Los Angeles. But he couldn’t stay away from the screen and eventually returned to show business, continuing to rack up roles in a wide variety of film and television projects.
Among his notable performances, he played the lead roles of a police officer-turned-informant in the 1981 film “Prince of the City” and a boat captain in the 1998 action movie “Deep Rising.” His portrayal of a New York neurosurgeon starting a new life with his family in the mountains of Colorado in the TV show “Everwood” resonated with viewers and critics alike, earning him a place in the hearts of a new generation of viewers.
In recent years, he played diverse roles such as the impossibly single old flame in the 2020 Netflix musical “Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square,” and a retired detective in the 2022 HBO series “We Own This City.”
Hours before his untimely death, Williams posted a photo on Twitter with the caption, “Mowing today. Wish I could bottle the scent.” This simple yet heartfelt message resonates with the essence of who Williams was – a man who found joy in the simple pleasures of life, a man of immense talent who never lost sight of his humble beginnings.
Treat Williams was a titan of the screen, a man whose passion for his craft was matched only by his love for life. His legacy will continue to inspire future generations of actors and entertainers. Our deepest condolences go out to his family, friends, and fans around the world. His spirit, his energy, and his talent will be sorely missed, but his work will remain a testament to his enduring talent. Rest in peace, Treat Williams, and thank you for the memories.