The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: Willie Garson

26 Oct

(The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame is where we turn the spotlight on a television actor or actress, and it is named after their patron saint, Zeljko Ivanek)

Willie Garson is a TV veteran’s veteran, having worked in the medium regularly for a quarter century.  Garson’s acting career began with appearances in 1986 TV movie The Deliberate Stranger and with guest spots that year in Family Ties, Cheers and You Again?  Over the next year, he appeared in TV movie The Leftovers, an episode of American Playhouse, an episode of My Two Dads, and in two episodes as two different characters in Newhart.  In 1989, he was busy, making appearances in Make a Living, Coach, Peter Gunn, and Chicken Soup.  Around this time, he also appeared in seven episodes of Mr. Belvedere as Carl who was the oldest son, Kevin’s, best friend.

He began the ‘90s with spots on Booker and thirtysomething and as well as Twin Peaks before appearing in three episodes of Quantum Leap, two as Lee Harvey Oswald, as Sam Beckett tries to stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  Over the next couple of years, he showed up in Moon Over Miami, L.A. Law, Flying Blind, A League of Their Own (the short-lived TV series based on the movie), Renegade and TV movies Daybreak, Black Sheep and Ray Alexander: A Taste for Justice.  He appeared in two episodes of show-I-have-never-heard-of Pig Sty, before appearing in MadTV as Lee Harvey Oswald again and in episodes of Partners, Mad About You and Touched by an Angel and TV movie The Barefoot Executive.  Around this time, Garson appeared in the first of his two X-Files episodes.  He was a medical orderly in third season episode The Walk.

He continued the circuit the next year with episodes of VR.5, Caroline in the City, two of The Practice as D.A. Frank Shea, and two of Melrose Place.  He got his first main cast role in absolutely ridiculous one season comedy on Fox Ask Harriet that got five episodes before getting pulled.  I’m curious to read more about this, but in very short the show featured a sexist sports journalist who dresses in drag to get work as an advice columnist after being fired from his sports job.  Garson played a security guard in an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and two different characters in two episodes of Ally McBeal.  He was in one Conrad Bloom and three Party of Fives.

He was in seven episodes of NYPD Blue as Henry Coffield, a loser and relative of Jimmy Smits’ Bobby Simone’s dead wife, and superintendent of the building that Simone inherits.  He was in a Friends, The One With the Girl Who Hits Joey, a Just Shoot Me, and an Early Edition and a Star Trek: Voyager.  He appeared in four episodes of Boy Meets World, including one as the minister who married Topanga and Cory.

He got his biggest role to date in 1998 as Stanford Blatch in Sex and the City.  Carrie’s best friend outside of the other three women on the show, Blatch is the only one other than the four main characters to occasionally receive his own storylines.  He is a gay talent agent who has known Carrie for many years and in the second Sex and the City movie gets married.

While he was working on Sex and the City, he was still busy elsewhere.  He appeared in his second X-Files episode, The Goldberg Variation, this time as Henry Weems.  Weems is a man who is exceptionally lucky, several times evading mobsters through bizarre acts of chance, and having been the only person to survive an airline crash that killed twenty.  He is trying to use his luck to treat a sick boy in his apartment building.  He also showed up in episodes of City of Angels (again, TV series based on movie), something called Hollywood Off-Ramp, two of Level 9, and ones of Spin City and Going to California.  He continued in two episodes of Special Unit 2, two appearances in TV miniseries Taken, single episodes of Greetings from Tuscon, All About the Andersons, TV movie Harry’s Girl, and an appearance in the minorly infamous furries episode of CSI.

He was in a Yes, Dear, a The Division, a Monk, a Wild Card and a Las Vegas.  He appeared in three episodes of Stargate: SGI as Marin Lloyd, a human from a non-Earth planet who desserted from his planet’s military when they were losing a war against another species.  He felt guilty about it, but was drugged by his fellow survivors so that he wouldn’t make trouble.  Eventually he helped start a campy TV show based on the Stargate program called Wormhole X-Treme!

He got another shot as a main cast member in HBO’s one season John from Cincinnati from Deadwood creator David Milch as Meyer Dickstein a lawyer and surf fan.  He had a cameo in David Alan Grier Comedy Central program Chocolate News as well as in a Wizards of Waverly Place, a Pushing Daisies and a Medium.

This all led to his biggest role to date, co-starring inUSA’s very successful White Collar as Mozzie.  Mozzie is main character Neal Caffrey’s best friend and long-time associate, and helps the team in weekly cons and with his contacts in the criminal world, for information.  He is a conspiracy theorist and calls FBI Agent Peter Burke “Suit” and his wife “Mrs. Suit.”  White Collar has been renewed for a fourth season.

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One Response to “The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: Willie Garson”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: Julie Benz « Television, the Drug of the Nation - November 30, 2011

    […] to be a woman in order to write an advice column (previously mentioned in the Willie Garson column). Around this time, in 1997, she also got one of her biggest roles as Darla, on Buffy the Vampire […]

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