'And Just Like That' Explains the Fate of Stanford After Actor Willie Garson Died During Filming

Willie Garson, who played Stanford Blatch on Sex and the City and the HBO Max revival, died in September at age 57

Willie Garson's absence on the rest of And Just Like That… this season has been explained.

The actor, who portrayed Carrie Bradshaw's best friend Stanford Blatch, tragically died in September when the series was filming.

During the fourth episode of the Sex and the City revival, which dropped Thursday on HBO Max, Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) was back in her old Upper East Side apartment after deciding to sell the one she shared with late husband John James Prescott, a.k.a. Mr. Big (Chris Noth).

While there, Carrie noticed an envelope with her name on it by the bed. As she opened it, she saw that it was a goodbye letter from Stanford, who appeared in the first three episodes of the season.

"Dearest Carrie, by the time you read this I'll be in Tokyo. I couldn't tell you — not without crying," the letter read in part. "And you have had enough crying."

And Just Like That...

Soon, Stanford's husband Anthony Marentino (Mario Cantone) appeared at her door and shared a few more details, but not before chiding her for taking up smoking again.

"You're smoking?" he asked, to which she replied with another question, "Stanford's in Japan?"

Anthony then sat Carrie down and showed her a video on his phone of a young girl dancing.

"That's Ashley," he explained. "The 17-year-old Long Island TikTok star he manages. She's huge in Asia. She asked him to go on tour with her. I do not get her, but then I'm old, gay and not Japanese."

"Well fine, good, sayonara," Carrie said. "But why the dramatic note? 'By the time you read this, I'll be in Tokyo.' Who is he, the lost Bronte sister?"

Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Willie Garson
Craig Blankenhorn/HBO Max

"He said he couldn't bring himself to tell you he was leaving face-to-face after Big died," Anthony said.

"Right, and a note is so much more compassionate," she quipped.

"Oh you know Stanny, he hates to disappoint people ... in person," Anthony teased in response.

Carrie then told him that she would have preferred to hear the news from Stanford in person, despite her recent loss.

"Still, you know, if something good is happening in one of my friends' lives — and I'm assuming he considers this good — I want to know about it. No matter what is going on in mine. Good news or bad, I want to know," she said.

"Really?" Anthony said. "I got a letter too. He wants a divorce."

"I don't get it. We were so happy," he added, a cheeky reference to the couple's constant bickering.

Mario Cantone, Sarah Jessica Parker and Willie Garson are seen filming "And Just Like That..." the follow up series to "Sex and the City" on July 23, 2021 in New York City.
Mario Cantone, Sarah Jessica Parker and Willie Garson filming "And Just Like That..." in July. Gotham/GC Images

Garson died in September at the age of 57 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. At the time, executive producer Michael Patrick King told PEOPLE that Garson's "spirit" and "dedication" were ever-present on the set of the revival.

"The Sex And The City family has lost one of its own, our amazing Willie Garson," King said. "His spirit and his dedication to his craft was present every day filming And Just Like That... ."

"He was there — giving us his all — even while he was sick," he continued. "His multitude of gifts as an actor and person will be missed by everyone. In this sad, dark moment we are comforted by our memory of his joy and light."

Willie Garson attends The Alliance For Children's Rights 28th Annual Dinner at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 05, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California
Willie Garson. Phillip Faraone/WireImage

Parker, 56, reflected on her friendship with Garson, which spanned over three decades, in an Instagram tribute following the news of his death. "It's been unbearable. Sometimes silence is a statement. Of the gravity. The anguish. The magnitude of the loss of a 30 + year friendship," she wrote.

"Willie. I will miss everything about you. And replay our last moments together. I will re-read every text from your final days and put to pen our last calls," Parker continued. "Your absence is a crater that I will fill with blessing of these memories and all the ones that are still in recesses yet to surface."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Cantone, 62, also shared a tribute to Garson on Instagram, saying he was "devastated" by his costar's death.

"I couldn't have had a more brilliant TV partner. I'm devastated and just overwhelmed with Sadness," he wrote. "Taken away from all of us way soon. You were a gift from the gods sweet Willie. Rest …I love you."

New episodes of And Just Like That… drop Thursdays on HBO Max.

Related Articles