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Willie Garson is a TV and film actor who hit it big starring opposite Sarah Jessica Parker on Sex and the City
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After 10 years of guest TV roles, Willie Garson's big break came in 1998 when he was cast as the gay best friend of Carrie Bradshaw on the hit Sex and the City. The show was nominated for more than 50 Emmys and 24 Golden Globes over the course of its 6-year run, elevating Garson from character actor to veritable Hollywood star. He has followed that role up with a long string of TV and film roles.
"Not everyone looks like Brad Pitt. There are people in the world that look like me. I think people feel that I could be living next door to them."
Actor. Born William Garson Paszamant on February 20, 1964, in Highland Park, New Jersey. Interested in acting from a very young age, Garson started training at the Actor's Institute in New York City at the age of 13. Garson attended Highland Park High School, and after graduating in 1982 he continued on to Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut—the alma mater of such fellow actors as Dana Delany, Frank Wood and Jordan Belfi. Still unsure as to whether or not he wanted to pursue acting as a career, Garson hedged his bets by majoring in both theater and psychology. However, upon graduating from Wesleyan in 1985, Garson realized his love of acting far outweighed his love of psychology, and he decided to further his training at the prestigious Yale School of Drama.
With a decade of acting study under his belt, Garson finally felt ready to begin auditioning for professional roles in 1986. He landed five different television roles that year, including guest spots on the popular series Family Ties and Cheers. After that breakthrough year, Garson continued to build his acting resume through the late 1980s and early 1990s with roles on shows like Coach and Mr. Belvedere. Garson also carved out a bizarre niche as Hollywood's go-to actor to portray John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. He played Oswald in three entirely unrelated productions: Quantum Leap (1989), Ruby (1992) and MADtv (1995).
Despite playing only minor roles early in his career, Willie Garson gained a reputation as a talented character actor—someone who could transform a show's smallest part into its most memorable one. He gradually landed increasingly prominent roles, appearing on the hit shows Friends (1994), Ally McBeal (1997) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1998), and taking on a seven-episode stint on NYPD Blue (1996-1999). Garson's breakthrough to stardom came in 1998 when he was cast as Stanford Blatch, the gay best friend of Carrie Bradshaw (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) on the HBO hit Sex and the City. Garson and Parker were real-life best friends long before Sex and the City, and Garson says their longtime friendship helped their on-screen chemistry. "People who've been friends for 20 years," he said, "it really reads on the screen." Sex and the City was nominated for more than 50 Emmy Awards and 24 Golden Globes over the course of its six-year run, elevating Garson from talented character actor to veritable Hollywood star.
Since gaining fame through Sex and the City, Garson has starred in numerous high-profile film and television roles.
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