Here’s How Willie Garson Died & How Stanford Was Written Out of the ‘SATC’ Reboot

Willie Garson
Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP.

Since his  death in the middle Sex and the City reboot, fans have wondered how Willie Garson died and how his character, Stanford Blatch, will be written out of And Just Like That.

Garson—whose full name is William Garson Paszamant—was born on February 20, 1964 in Highland Park, New Jersey. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theater from Wesleyan University and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Yale Drama School. Throughout his career, Garson has starred in dozens of TV shows, including NYPD Blue, White Collar, Twin Peaks, Monk and Boy Meets World. But he’s perhaps best known for his role as Stanford Blatch, Carrie Bradshaw’s best friend, in HBO’s Sex and the City. 

Garson starred in 27 episodes of Sex and the City, which ran for six seasons from 1998 to 2004. The show, which was based on Candace Bushnell’s 1997 book of the same title
, followed four women in their 30s and 40s—Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte York (Kristin Davis)—and their sex lives in New York City. The show went on to win four Emmy Awards (including Outstanding Comedy Series in 2001) and release two movies, Sex and the City: The Movie in 2008 and Sex and the City 2 in 2010.

Garson starred as Stanford for all six seasons of Sex and the City and both movies. Sex and the City: The Movie saw Stanford fall in love with Anthony Marantino (Mario Cantone), a wedding planner and Charlotte’s best friend, who was his frenemy in Sex and the City. Sex and the City 2 saw Stanford and Mario marry in a wedding officiated by Liza Minelli. In January 2021, HBO announced that a Sex and the City reboot,  titled And Just Like That, was in the works for HBO Max. The reboot sees the return of each of the main cast members—except Cattrall, who has retired as the role of Samantha. Among the cast members who returned was Garson, who filmed three episodes of And Just Like That before his death on September 21, 2021, He was 57 years old.

If you miss Stanford as much we do, you may want to know how Willie Garson died and how Stanford was written out of And Just Like That. Read on for what Willie Garson’s cause of death was confirmed to be in his obituary and what happens to Stanford in the Sex and the City reboot.

How did Willie Garson die?

"And Just Like That"

Image: Courtesy of HBO Max.

How did Willie Garson die? Garson, whose full name was William Garson Paszamant, died of complications related to pancreatic cancer at his home in Los Angeles on September 21, 2021. He was 57 years old. Garson’s death was announced by his son, Nathen Garson, whom he adopted from the foster care system when he was 7 years old in 2009. “I love you so much papa. Rest In Peace and I’m so glad you got to share all your adventures with me and were able to accomplish so much,” Nathen captioned a series of photos and videos of his father. “I’m so proud of you. I will always love you, but I think it’s time for you to go on an adventure of your own. You’ll always be with me. Love you more than you will ever know and I’m glad you can be at peace now. You always were the toughest and funniest and smartest person I’ve known. I’m glad you shared you’re love with me. I’ll never forget it or lose it ❤️😘.”

Garson’s obituary in The New York Times described him as a “working actor” who had a “long and productive career,” while “never achieving stardom.” The obituary reads, “A working actor has been defined as ‘an actor who while never achieving stardom, has a long and productive career and earns a better than decent living and has the admiration of his peers,’ ” the obituary read. “Nothing could better describe Garson. For the last four decades, he appeared in over 300 television shows and over 70 films.”

The obituary also recognized Garson’s role as Stanford in Sex and the City. “He was perhaps best known for his role in the iconic HBO television series, Sex and The City,” the obituary reads. “As Stanford Blatch, Carrie Bradshaw’s best male friend, Garson was never at a loss for a caustic quip. As his role evolved over the course of six seasons, Stanford was not only hilarious, but also vulnerable at times, as he struggled in his own efforts to navigate sex and the city.”

In his obituary, Garson’s family also requested for fans to make a donation in his name to the Alliance for Children’s Rights, a Los Angeles-based organization that facilitates adoptions. “In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any donations to be made in his name go to the Alliance for Children’s Rights,” the obituary reads. In an interview with People in 2014, Garson talked about how his life changed after he adopted his son Nathen. “Nathen has made me want to branch out and do more,” he said. “When I first became a dad to Nathen, everything had such newness to it. But we both wanted this adoption, and we worked things out together because we are partners in this,” he said. “I don’t know what I would have done with a newborn… But I do wish I’d met him sooner, because I enjoy him so much. His sense of humor is a carbon copy of mine. I have to be careful about some things I say, because I will hear it right back at me an hour later. He’s like a sponge.”

Along with Nathen, Garson is also survived by brother John Paszamant, sister Lisa Clark, nieces Katie Clark, Jenna Clark and Amanda Clark and nephews Joshua Paszamant, Michael Paszamant.

What was Willie Garson’s cause of death?

"And Just Like That"

Image: Courtesy of HBO Max.

What was Willie Garson’s cause of death? Garson’s obituary in The New York Times confirmed that his cause of death was pancreatic cancer. The most common form of pancreatic cancer is pancreatic adenocarcinoma. The disease, which accounts for 90 percent of cases of pancreatic cancer, happens when adenocarcinomas, cancerous tumors, form in the issues of the pancreas, an organ that lies in the abdomen on the lower part of the stomach that releases enzymes that aid in digestion and produces hormones that help with blood sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic. The organization also reports that pancreatic cancer is rarely detected at its early stages when it’s most curable because it doesn’t cause symptoms until the cancer spreads to other organs. Treatments often include surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

When pancreatic cancer is more advanced, symptoms or signs often include abdominal pain that radiates from your lower back, loss of appetite or unintended weight loss, yellowing o the skin and the whites of the eyes (also known as jaundice), light-colored stools, dark-colored urine, itchy skin, blood clots, fatigue, and new or existing diabetes that’s more difficult to control, according to the Mayo Clinic. The organization also notes that it’s unclear what causes pancreatic cancer, though some doctors have identified smoking or certain inherited gene mutations as risk factors. Other risks, according to the Mayo Clinic, include diabetes, chronic inflammation of the pancreas, a family history of genetic syndromes that increase cancer risk (such as the BRCA2 gene mutation), obesity and older age. According to the organization, most people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are older than 65. The Mayo Clinic also reports that a combination of smoking, diabetes and a poor diet increases the risk of pancreatic cancer more than any of these factors on their own.

Does Stanford die in And Just Like That?

"And Just Like That"

Image: Courtesy of HBO Max.

Warning: And Just like That spoilers ahead. Does Stanford die in And Just Like That? No, Stanford doesn’t die in And Just Like That, HBO Max’s Sex and the City reboot. Garson stars as Stanford Blatch in the first three episodes of And Just Like That. In episode four of the Sex and the City reboot, viewers learn that he was written out of the show after he moves to Tokyo, Japan, to manage a 17-year-old TikTok star named Ashley who’s “huge in Asia” and asked Stanford to go on tour with her. Carrie learns this when she’s sent a letter from Stanford that reads, “By the time you read this, I’ll be in Tokyo. I couldn’t tell you—not without crying. And you have had enough crying.” Carrie then receives a knock at her door from Anthony Marantino, Stanford’s husband. Anthony then tells Carrie that Stanford also sent him a letter asking for a divorce. “I don’t get it. We were so happy,” he says.

Michael Patrick King, the executive producer of And Just Like That, also confirmed to The New York Times in December 2021 that Stanford didn’t not die in the Sex and the City reboot. (He also confirmed that Samantha Jones also doesn’t die in And Just Like That after Kim Cattrall declined to return to the role.) “Nobody’s dead. Nobody,” King said. He explained that the writers chose not to kill off Stanford because it would have been inauthentic to the viewers. “Because it wasn’t charming,” he said. “And I knew that the audience would know.”

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter at the time, King revealed that he had a “whole journey” planned for Stanford that was rewritten after Garson’s death. “We had a whole journey that we weren’t able to do, but what he did is fantastic,” he said. “There were incredible, creative, intellectual, emotional conversations with Sarah Jessica, of course, because we started it together, and then with Cynthia [Nixon], Kristin [Davis], Chris [Noth], Evan [Handler], David [Eigenberg], Mario [Cantone], Willie, Julie Halston. Everyone who was in, I had a conversation with. And then the new people, too.”

Mario Cantone—who plays Stanford’s husband, Anthony Marantino—also confirmed to Entertainment Tonight at the time that the script for And Just Like That had to be rewritten after Garson’s death. “Things had to be rewritten,” he said. “I am thrilled to be here, and I’m sad too ’cause I miss Willie. I’m really sad about this, so it’s a weird thing, but we’re doing this for him. This is for him, and I’m just happy we made it through. We all kind of huddled together, and held onto each other, and we did it.”

Cantone also confirmed that Garson will appear in three episodes of And Just Like That that will show Anthony and Stanford’s “turbulent, yet clingy, loving, argumentative marriage.” “You would’ve never known that he was sick,” Cantone said. “[He was] in incredible spirits, and hilarious, and brilliant. He’s so alive on the first three episodes.” He continued, “What Michael Patrick King did was brilliant. He knows what he’s doing. They were quick rewrites. We did them. You have to. It’s a mixed bag, believe me.”

King also told Entertainment Tonight that “no one could be another Stanford,” so the show will not replace him with another character. “The amazing thing about Willie is that he’s in three episodes, and when you see him, he’s so filled with life,” King said. “It was a big loss to us. It is a very small compensation that he’s still alive in the [show], just a small one.” He continued,”We wanted as much Willie Garson as we could get. We wanted all Willie, all the time, so we had to adjust Stanford’s storyline because we lost Willie, but it was all Willie, all the time.”

Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays Carrie Bradshaw, also told Entertainment Tonight that Stanford will be as missed in And Just Like That as Samantha. “Everyone sort of keeps repeating that Samantha isn’t in the series, but really what’s missing in the series is Willie Garson. That’s the person that’s missing,” she said.  “I just think that we should focus on the people that have an absence that is an undoing, rather than a creative decision that was calm and thoughtful. This was a person that was lost far too soon, who was gonna play a significant role, and that’s the kind of space you can’t fill.”

Cynthia Nixon, who plays Miranda Hobbes, also confirmed that And Just Like That won’t try to replace either Samantha or Stanford. “We will never try to [replace] Samantha any more than we would try to replace Stanford now that Willie Garson is gone,” she said. “[It was] very shocking, very, very, very devastating. Just so, so shocking, and so awful, and so sudden. I’m glad he got to be as much a part of it as he is. That we also got to spend time with him was really precious to us.”

At the premiere of And Just Like That, Garson’s son, Nathen Garson, posted an Instagram photo of him Parker, Nixon, Kristin Davis (who plays Charlotte York) and Chris Noth (who plays Mr. Big) on the red carpet. “What a wonderful trip and what an amazing time I got to have. Thanks @justlikethatmax for a wonderful time and for inviting me to enjoy the season premiere of And Just Like That! Go check it out on HBOmax!” he captioned the post.

And Just Like That is available to stream on HBO Max. Here’s how to watch it for free.

Sex and the City: Kiss and Tell by Amy Sohn

"Sex and the City: Kiss and Tell"

Image: Courtesy of Gallery Books.


For more about And Just Like That and Sex and the City, read HBO’s official companion book, Sex and the City: Kiss and Tell. The book, written by dating columnist and screenwriter Amy Sohn, is filled with behind-the-scenes secrets from Sex and the City‘s six seasons and details on the real-life stories that inspired the show’s shocking episodes. The book also includes 750 full-color photographs from filming the series, as well as an introduction written by none other than Sarah Jessica Parker. With fun facts on how many dates Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda really went on to never-been-told secrets about Carrie’s most outrageous (and fabulous) outfits, Sex and the City: Kiss and Tell is a must-read for any SATC superfan.

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