Treat Williams, star of ‘Everwood,’ dies in motorcycle accident at age 71

headshot of a man
Actor Treat Williams was killed in a collision between his motorcycle and a car, his agent said.
(Evan Agostini / Invision/Associated Press)

Treat Williams, a star of the TV show “Everwood” and the musical “Hair,” was killed in a motorcycle accident in Vermont on Monday evening.

The death of the 71-year-old actor was confirmed to The Times by Williams’ agent of 20 years, Barry McPherson.

“They couldn’t save him,” said an emotional McPherson. “And it’s just such a terrible thing, an unnecessary thing.”


According to McPherson, Williams was riding his motorcycle on a Vermont roadway when a car crossed in front of him. Williams crashed into the vehicle, the agent said. Williams was still conscious when his wife, Pam Van Sant, and son Gill Williams arrived at the scene. He died of internal injuries suffered in the crash, McPherson said.

“He’d been such a happy guy,” the agent said, fighting back tears, “working nonstop, and he has great projects coming out that he was excited about, and just to have this happen out of the blue like this. I’m still stunned.”

About 30 minutes before the crash occurred, he posted a video to Twitter of a man tending to his farm with the caption, “What a real Vermonter does.”

Jacob Gribble, the fire chief for Dorset, Vt., told People that the crash happened around 5 p.m. on Route 30 near an auto repair shop.

Treat Williams strode through the lobby of the Sunset Marquis Hotel looking like somebody’s dad, dressed in a gray tweed jacket and plaid shirt, and mused about the hotel’s reputation.

May 5, 1988

Gribble told the outlet that Williams was airlifted to a hospital in New York. Not long after, he succumbed to his injuries.

McPherson said Williams had been excited for his forthcoming project, Ryan Murphy’s “Feud: Capote’s Women,” in which the actor portrays former CBS head and media tycoon Bill Paley, alongside Tom Hollander as Capote, Calista Flockhart, Diane Lane, Naomi Watts and Chloë Sevigny.


“I hope everybody appreciates how wonderful he was,” McPherson said. “Just beloved by filmmakers and other actors.”

In a statement shared with Deadline, the Williams family said, “As you can imagine, we are shocked and greatly bereaved at this time. Treat was full of love for his family, for his life and for his craft, and was truly at the top of his game in all of it. It is all so shocking right now, but please know that Treat was dearly and deeply loved and respected by his family and everyone who knew him.

“We are beyond devastated and ask that you respect our privacy as we deal with our grief,” the statement continued. “To all his fans, please know that Treat appreciated all of you and please continue to keep him in your hearts and prayers.”

Williams debuted on the big screen with the 1975 thriller “Deadly Hero” but gained notoriety in the 1979 musical film “Hair,” when his portrayal of George Berger landed him a Golden Globe Award nomination for new star of the year.

He was also nominated for a Golden Globe for best actor in a motion picture drama for the 1981 film “Prince of the City.” Williams also had roles in the films “The Eagle Has Landed,” “Once Upon a Time in America” and “The Late Shift,” as well as countless other film, stage and television roles. Williams also notably portrayed Dr. Andrew ‘’Andy’’ Brown, starring on the celebrated television series “Everwood” from 2002 to 2006.

Williams appeared in 1996 on “The Late Show With David Letterman” to promote his 1995 neo-noir dark comedy “Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead.” He told Letterman about life on his 15-acre Vermont “farmette,” describing himself as a “bad gentleman farmer” with no animals but lots of plants, a fruit orchard and grapevines.


He was also a passionate aviator and often flew his small plane back and forth from Vermont to New York. He learned how to fly as a teenager; his football coach was a Navy SEAL who gave him two free flying lessons. During the Sundance Film Festival in 2011, Williams said that, at 17, he had no money, so he started singing at parties and driving a cab, and he also got his pilot’s license.

“And I just never stopped,” he said, before adding that he worked in musicals and saved enough money to buy an airplane for $3,000. “I got all the ratings. I went straight up from private, commercial, and then I got my helicopter [license], commercial flight instructor.”

Flying, he said, is “very close for me to church. It is a place where I can communicate with a higher power. It’s a place where I feel that I’m in control of my life, which in our industry is very difficult to feel.”

In December 2020, Williams discussed acting in musicals during a featurette for Netflix’s “Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square” and said that his all-time favorite role was playing T-Birds bad boy Danny Zuko in “Grease.” He said it taught him everything he knew about stage acting and musicals. In his early days, he was John Travolta’s understudy on Broadway.

The “Hair” star also played guitar and sang in a band with Air Supply’s Graham Russell. They played covers of their favorite songs from the last several decades and, according to Williams, raised a “couple hundred thousand dollars” for Save the Children’s tsunami relief fund as well as other causes.

“Treat Williams was a super mensch, an actors actor, and not to mention a triple threat of his craft,” tweeted entertainment publicist Danny Deraney.


Also posting a tribute was Mark Hamill, who famously portrayed Luke Skywalker in “Star Wars” and worked with Williams, who played an Echo Base Trooper on “Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back.”

“Just heard the awful news that the world has lost [Treat Williams.] Such a wonderful person... such a gifted actor... such a treasured friend. I’m gutted. RIP Pal.”

Williams also worked with Tom Selleck on the CBS police drama “Blue Bloods” from 2016 to 2023. In a statement shared with The Times, Selleck said, “It has been said that we are all just passing time and occupy our chair very briefly. My friend Treat was aptly named and occupied his chair so well. I will miss him but I will not forget him. Well done, my friend.”

The actor is survived by his wife, actor and producer Pam Van Sant, and their two children, Gill and Elinor.