The Creative Coalition mourns the tragic passing of the late, great actor Willie Garson, a beloved member of our organization. In one of his last interviews, Willie sat down with The Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk for a conversation on “At Home With The Creative Coalition,” in which he talks about spending one of the best days of his life with his son at a Broadway show, the gift of seeing his son spend a day with his mom before she died, why he almost passed on “Sex and the City,” and more. Highlights below.
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Highlights from “At Home With The Creative Coalition” featuring Willie Garson —
On spending one of the best days of his life with his son, Nathan, at a Broadway show:
“The greatest thing was taking [my son] Nathan to New York. He had never been to New York, he’d never been anywhere, and we’re gonna go to Broadway. We go to the TKTS booth, and you know, we’ll see whatever, who cares. And someone — you know, they’re out of work actors who work the line, so like policing the line. And I shouldn’t say this out loud, but one of them recognized me and said, ‘You don’t have to wait in line, come with me.’ And they took us up to the front. And there were great tickets for ‘Annie,’ okay? Now, I’m a bald man, who has just adopted my child, sitting next to him in a Broadway theater and I also look like, at the time to him, like the richest person on the planet. And here we are in a Broadway theater, and here comes bald Daddy Warbucks adopting the orphan. And the look on his face — I’m sitting next to him and he’s grabbing my hand, and he’s not taking his eyes off the stage. It was, it was everything that theater is supposed to be in one moment. That was one of the best days of my life.”
On the gift of seeing his son spend a day with his mother before she died:
“[My son] had gone to the theater once before with my mother before she passed away. It was the only day he spent with my mother. And when I first took him to New York, she had — my mother was very, um, stingy (is that a nice word?). My mother, she went to a ticket broker and she got tickets to ‘The Lion King,’ and she had heard that a lot of crap happens on the aisle. So she got specific seats in like the eighth row on the aisle. She took Nathan — I’m going to tear up talking about it — and they had this day together at the theater, and it’s the only day. And I met them after, and we had Chinese food. And she was wonderful with him, much better than she was with any of her children. It’s a beautiful thing. She died shortly after… I’m glad that we had that. We knew that she was not well so it was like a gift to have that moment.”
On why he nearly passed on “Sex and the City”:
“‘Sex and the City’ was not a big deal because it was HBO. I actually got two pilots on the same day, and I took the other pilot, which was for Fox. And ‘Sex and the City’ let me guest on the pilot of ‘Sex and the City.’ I did the other show, the other show got picked up. We shot 13 episodes, and it was canceled. ‘Sex and the City’ had a year between when we made the pilot… So it was a full year before episodes started shooting. So we called up ‘Sex and the City’ and said, ‘Hey, listen, uh, we made a mistake and we’d like to come back.’ And they said, ‘Well, we kind of like it this way, as a recurring character instead of a regular character.’ So I stayed a recurring character for, you know, six-and-a-half seasons — a very popular recurring character. Now, the bonus of that was that when the show exploded, which was great, the bonus was that I wasn’t tied to the show so I worked a lot outside of the show. So that was my really good years was those years, and I decided — I had done a couple hundred TV episodes at that point — and I decided I wanted to do movies so I just started doing small parts in movies, and I knocked down a lot of them. I probably did like 70 movies during that time.”
More about “At Home With The Creative Coalition”
Hosted by The Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk, “At Home With The Creative Coalition” brings listeners intimate portraits, key moments of discovery, and “art and soul” conversations with iconic entertainment industry personalities from the big screen to the boardroom, from L.A. to D.C. Listen now at http://thecreativecoalition.org/podcast.
More about The Creative Coalition
The Creative Coalition is the premier nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) social and public advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment community. Founded in 1989 by prominent members of the creative community, The Creative Coalition is dedicated to educating, mobilizing, and activating its members on issues of public importance. Actor Tim Daly serves as the organization’s President. The Creative Coalition also creates award-winning public service campaigns including #RightToBearArts to promote the efficacy of the arts. The Creative Coalition harnesses the unique platforms of the arts community and entertainment industry to make positive impacts on social welfare issues. For more information, visit https://thecreativecoalition.org.