You’ll find why I’m shedding more than a few tears tonight.
Willie Garson was a versatile actor, best known for his ambitious portrayal of Stanford on the original SEX IN THE CITY, as well as several memorable co-starring roles in movies like FEVER PITCH and other TV series like USA’s WHITE COLLAR. He was a loving father to Nathan, who was a student of a friend of mine at the Oakwood School in Los Angeles. And he was a damn good game show player, specifically THE $100,000 PYRAMID, and a good enough sport to play a role in the realization of a lifelong quixotic quest for Yours Truly.
Willie agreed to be my “celebrity partner” when Sony gave me the chance to finally get to The Winner’s Circle in the spring of 2017, 39 years after I first tried to get there as a college student obsessed with the show who believed he was good enough to get on the show. (It was only THE $20,000 PYRAMID back then, but that was still about as much as my dad took home after taxes for an entire year. ).
I didn’t get on because, as I later learned from creator Bob Stewart himself, I was too GOOD to be on HIS show. I got the chance to work with Bob and his team in the 80s and became even more obsessed with the show. As many already know,I had another chance to work with the show at Game Show Network, where I first met the now-infamous Mike Richards. And finally in 2016 I was part of the team that successfully brought the show to network prime time, where it just completed its fifth successful season.
My reward was a chance to get a free weekend in New York, back where my quest began, and play for “$100,000 fake dollars”. The real trip I got out of it was reward enough. Willie played along like a pro as the announcer told the audience who I was, why they were being kept during a meal break and why although my title at the time said otherwise I was anything but an entitiled executive. I was a fan, a kid, fat and bald and middle-aged, living a dream.
You can watch what happened next by clicking through the site to the You Tube telescope, a labor of love edited and produced by many of my former Sony peers. About time anyone reading this delved elsewhere on this labor of love of mine. Spoiler alert: we didn’t suck.
57 is far too young to die–it’s the same age my mother left the world at 30 years ago. A father should live to see a son grow, possibly marry and certainly make him proud. Willie’s versatility assured he could have been an Ed Asner type, capable of performing into his 80s and 90s. We have been denied that. I’m grateful I got the chance to meet him, hug him and now, thank him.
Farewell indeed, partner. Until next time 🙁