Hilarie Burton has promised to make Willie Garson's final dream a reality
The 39-year-old actress has been left devastated by the passing of her former 'White Collar' co-star - who died earlier this week aged 57 following a short illness - but has vowed to keep his memory alive by getting the book he recently finished writing published
26 September 2021
She wrote on Instagram: "We were together in 2019 while I was in the final edit of my book. He came to play on a movie I was producing…elevating the material, always.
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"We talked a lot about memoir, this weird industry, our families. He’d been toying with an idea for a book. An accounting of his career as a character actor. As someone who benefited from hours of Willie’s stories over countless dinners, I loved this idea.
"So he did it. He wrote the book. And recently he asked if I’d help his family get it published for his son Nathen.
"It is a love letter to our industry, to storytelling and to the hundreds of people he worked with and made better over the decades.
"To Willie’s family, especially @nathen_garson , …on my honor I will see it through. You have been so generous in sharing him with the rest of us. Love you."
The 'Rural Diaries' writer also revealed she'd had one of Willie's favourite phrases, 'Calm down', tattooed on her arm in his honour efore he passed away.
She wrote: "He would pay you the biggest compliment in the world. Tell you that you were the smartest or prettiest or most talented or that your book/show/recipe/charity, etc mattered and was valuable. And right as you'd blush, he'd temper it with 'alright, calm down!'
"And then laughter. He'd stop you before you could rebuff the compliment. Calm down. I can hear him saying it.
"Before I went to see him, I needed him to know how I felt. And @hudsonvalleytattooco was so kind and understanding and got me in the night before my flight. I wanted Willie to know that I was carrying that 'calm down' with me forever."
The 'One Tree Hill' actress also shared the personal gift her friend had given her and Jeffrey Dean Morgan after they married in October 2019.
She wrote: "I wept when Willie sent Jeffrey and me a wedding present. A first edition copy of 'Grapes of Wrath'.
"The note he included is partially shown here (the rest is ours. And incredibly dear to us.) But I include it because it illustrates a quality of Willie's that I loved."