“Willie, I don’t understand,” Bomer began his Instagram tribute. “And it’s not fair. This past year, you taught me so much about courage and resilience and love. I still haven’t wrapped my head around a world without you in it — where I can’t call you when I need to laugh, or be inspired. The last thing you did when we said goodbye was pull down your mask (I hate covid), smile, and wink at me. I know that it wasn’t reflective of the pain you were going through, but it was indicative of everything you were and are to me: someone who lifted me up, who made me better, and who always, always made me smile. This also reminded me how strong our White Collar family is. We were all there for Willie, and for each other.
“I love you forever Willie Garson,” Bomer concluded. “You live on in our hearts and minds always. And your White Collar family is always here for Nathen. Save a place for me, because you know I want to be at your table up there.”
On White Collar, Garson and Bomer played con artists and friends, Mozzie and Neal. They appeared in all six seasons of the USA Network caper. The series finale aired in 2014.
Fellow White Collar vet Tim DeKay tweeted, “Godspeed, Wilhelm. You know I love you and always will,” while co-star Tiffani Thiessen shared the following on Instagram: “Willie, my dear sweet friend, I’m utterly heartbroken. It’s still hard for me to believe you’re not here. You fought this battle with strength and grace. Heaven got an amazing man today and they are incredibly lucky. I love you so darn much my friend.”
Hilarie Burton Morgan, who played Sara Ellis for the better part of two seasons, on Wednesday morning shared that, having been alerted by “friends, coworkers” and “total strangers,” “The world knows that @willie.garson has been a pivotal player in my life. So I will not be able to fully articulate my feelings here. I’m gonna need some time…. Willie was a romantic friend. Deeply thoughtful. Intentional with his effort and attention and devotion. Social media is ablaze right now with evidence of that…..each person in his life felt special. Spoiled, even. Willie most definitely spoiled me.” The actress shared some personal photos, including of a “Calm Down” tattoo she recently got in honor of Garson’s usual advice.
White Collar creator Jeff Eastin, meanwhile, tweeted, “Goodbye my friend. You were the best of us….. Willie was the funniest person I’ve ever known. He was also a great father through adoption. If you’d like to do something nice, donate a few bucks to the adoption agency of your choice in his honor. #WillieGarson, you will live forever in our hearts.”
Garson had reportedly been battling cancer.