Sarah Jessica Parker 'Felt Responsible' for Willie Garson's Health on 'And Just Like That' Set

Sarah Jessica Parker was among the very few to learn of Willie Garson's cancer diagnosis as their And Just Like That... costars were made aware later while filming

Sarah Jessica Parker felt protective over Willie Garson on And Just Like That... amid his private cancer battle.

In a recent interview with Vulture, Parker, 56, opened up about learning of his pancreatic cancer diagnosis and how she cared for him on the revival show's set. "I knew before we started shooting that Willie was sick. He asked me to keep that confidential, and I honored that," she told the outlet.

Garson appeared on Sex and the City as Stanford Blatch, a.k.a. the best friend of Parker's Carrie Bradshaw. The actors had been close "long before" playing best friends on the beloved series, which ran on HBO from 1998 to 2004 for six seasons.

Garson died in September from pancreatic cancer. He was 57.

"It was fraught for me to know that he was sick with that particular, terrifying diagnosis. We were a vaccine-mandated show, but nonetheless, a lot of our scenes were with a lot of background players, and I had great concerns about Willie staying as healthy as he could while shooting," Parker recalled.

"I couldn't share that with anybody. I'd only keep track of him, and I felt responsible in some ways for his health, his well-being on the set," the actress continued. "Anytime there was downtime, I sat with him and talked with him. He really was a raconteur, a famously gifted storyteller. We could hear the same story over and over again as if it were the first time, and he was terrifically good at documenting his life and sharing it with us."

Recalling the moment Garson disclosed his diagnosis with the rest of the And Just Like That... cast, Parker said it was "particularly difficult" since it was around the time they were filming the funeral episode.

"That day was excruciating, to be in a fictional world of the loss of a life, but in the real world, of somebody that you knew was sick — that was his last day working with us," she remembered. "He intended and wanted to complete the entire season. He had a very significant storyline, more so than ever, so it was my fervent hope that he would be able to do it all. And for Willie to have to leave, you knew that it was serious."

Sarah jessica parker, Willie Garson

Parker added, "If Willie could be there and do one more episode or one more scene, he would have done it. But he knew what he needed to do to take care of his son [Nathen] and of himself, and I am so glad that he did that because when he passed away, he wanted to do so in an environment and circumstance that made him feel safe and comfortable."

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Speaking about her bond with Garson, Parker also said, "Our friendship onscreen is similar in many ways to our friendship off, which is not typical."

"Cynthia [Nixon] and I have known each other for even longer than I've known Willie; we started working together when we were little girls, but Carrie and Miranda are different than Sarah Jessica and Cynthia," the businesswoman added. "With Stanford and Carrie, though their lives and choices are radically different than our own, there was a buoyancy to their onscreen relationship that felt familiar to us. It was a joyful one onscreen."

sarah jessica parker and willie garson
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At the time of his death, Parker was among Garson's many Sex and the City costars to post a heartfelt tribute for him.

"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 on Instagram. "A real friendship that allowed for secrets, adventure, a shared professional family, truth, concerts, road trips, meals, late night phone calls, a mutual devotion to parenthood and all the heartaches and joy that accompany, triumphs, disappointments, fear, rage and years spent on sets (most especially Carrie's apartment) and laughing late into the night as both Stanford and Carrie and Willie and SJ."

Parker said she "will miss everything" about him, adding that she had also replayed their "last moments together" as well.

"I will re-read every text from your final days and put to pen our last calls. Your absence a crater that I will fill with blessing of these memories and all the ones that are still in recesses yet to surface," she continued. "My love and deepest sympathies and condolences to you dear Nathen. You were and are the light of Willie's life and his greatest achievement was being your Papa. These were his last words to me. 'Great bangles all around.' Yes. Godspeed Willie Garson. RIP."

A spokesperson for HBO and HBO Max said in a statement at the time, "Willie Garson was in life, as on screen, a devoted friend and a bright light for everyone in his universe. He created one of the most beloved characters from the HBO pantheon and was a member of our family for nearly twenty-five years. We are deeply saddened to learn of his passing and extend our sincere condolences to his family and loved ones."

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