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Actor Treat Williams, 71, Dies in Motorcycling Accident


Actor Treat Williams was killed on Monday in a motorcycling accident in Dorset, Vermont. The veteran performer was 71. After a film career that began in the 1970s with Grease and Hair, Williams later starred in the TV dramas Blue Bloods and Everwood.

According to reports by the Vermont State Police, the accident happened on state route 30 when a driver turning into a parking lot collided with Williams on his 1986 Honda VT700c motorcycle. The actor was airlifted to New York’s Albany Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Born in Stamford, Connecticut in 1951, Robert Treat Williams grew up in nearby Rowayton and decided to be an actor while studying at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. After graduation, he moved to New York and became the understudy to John Travolta in Grease, later replacing him in the role of Danny Zuko. He also appeared in Milos Forman’s 1979 adaptation of the Broadway musical Hair and starred in Sidney Lumet’s 1981 crime drama Prince of the City.

After tackling roles as diverse as boxer Jack Dempsey and FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, Williams earned a Primetime Emmy nomination in the 1990s for his appearance in The Late Shift, about late-night TV stars Jay Leno and David Letterman.

Later in his career, Williams tackled a number of television roles, including starring in the CW series Everwood for four seasons. He also appeared in Chicago Fire and Chesapeake Shores, and starred in the HBO miniseries We Own This City, about police corruption in Baltimore.

In a statement made after the fatal accident, Williams’s agent Barry McPherson said, “I’m just devastated. He was the nicest guy. He was so talented. He was an actor’s actor. Filmmakers loved him. He’s been the heart of the Hollywood since the late 1970s.”

The actor was also a certified scuba diver, a pilot and a certified flight instructor. Surviving Williams is his wife Pam Van Sant and their two children Gillie and Ellie.

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Edward Moran
Edward Moran
Edward Moran began his journalistic career many decades ago as a theater and cinema reviewer for Show Business and the New York Theater Review. More recently he contributed film reviews to and Movie Sleuth. His writings have appeared in publications as diverse as the Times Literary Supplement, Publishers Weekly, the Paris Review, and the Massachusetts Review. Moran also edited a memoir by Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Christine Choy. He served as literary advisor to her film Hyam Plutzik: American Poet, which was the keynote film in the American Perspectives series at the 2007 Zebra Poetry Film Festival in Berlin.


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