Treat Williams, Prolific Actor Known for ‘Deep Rising’ and ‘Everwood,’ Dies at 71

The actor was killed in a motorcycle crash, his agent says

Treat Williams
Treat Williams (Credit: Getty Images)

Treat Williams, a prolific American actor whose career spanned nearly 50 years, died Monday of injuries sustained when he was struck by a car while riding his motorcycle. He was 71.

“It is with great sadness that we report that our beloved Treat Williams has passed away tonight in Dorset, Vermont after a fatal motorcycle accident. 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,” Williams’ family said in a statement.

“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. To all his fans, please know that Treat appreciated all of you and please continue to keep him in your hearts and prayers,” the statement concluded.

The news was originally confirmed to People by Williams’ agent, Barry McPherson.

Born in 1951 in Rowayton, Connecticut, Williams attended college in Pennsylvania and began his acting career in 1975, making his film debut in “Deadly Hero.” He had a few small and uncredited roles throughout the decade before landing his first prominent role as George Berger in the 1978 film adaptation of “Hair,” for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe.

He was nominated for a Golden Globe a second time in 1981 for his starring role in director Sidney Lumet’s “Prince of the City.” Other roles during this period include “Once Upon a Time in America,” the neo-Western “Flashpoint” and the thriller “Smooth Talk.”

In the 1980s, Williams began appearing in genre films like the Italian production “Night of the Sharks” and the American cult classic “Dead Heat,” while continuing to appear in more serious roles, as well. In the 1990s, he appeared in “Where the Rivers Flow North,” “Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead,” “Mullholland Falls” and “The Devil’s Own,” while also starring in projects like “The Phantom” and the action/horror film “Deep Rising.”

He continued to appear in films regularly up until his death, but perhaps his best known role came on television, where from 2002-2006 he starred on the critically acclaimed series “Everwood.” Other well-known and -received TV appearances included recurring roles on “White Collar,” “Chicago Fire,” “Hawaii Five-0, “Blue Bloods” and “We Own This City.”

Williams is survived by his wife of 35 years, Pam Van Sant, and their two children.