American actor Treat Williams dies in motorcycle accident

He was one of the most beautiful suffering Christs of modern American cinema. Sidney Lumet had, in fact, offered him a fabulous, complex, difficult, extreme role, that of a manipulated man, going from euphoria to unbearable moral pain, crushed by an inhuman system. A challenge just as much as one of those occasions like there are few in the life of an actor. American actor Richard Treat Williams died on June 12 in Albany, New York, following a motorcycle accident in Vermont. He was 71 years old.

He was born on 1er December 1951, in Stamford, Connecticut, of a corporate executive father and an antique dealer mother. As a teenager, he was passionate about drama. Conscious, very early, of what his vocation will be, he is part of the theater group of his high school, then of the university of Lancaster, in Pennsylvania.

He gets one of the main male roles in the musical greaseon Broadway, in 1972. He made his film debut in a few small roles, sometimes uncredited in the credits, in 1975. We notice him a little in John Sturges’ war film, The eagle has flown awayin 1976. He finally entered the cinema through the front door in 1979. Milos Forman (1932-2018) adapted the successful 1967 musical, Hate, immersed in the heart of the world of hippies and of this American counter-culture which was one of the obsessions of the Czech filmmaker. Treat Williams burst onto the screen as the leader of a group of young Flower Power enthusiasts and his performance was hailed by critics. THE New York Times will write that Williams “was one of the best things the film had to offer. (…) He is the only actor in the film who was able to suggest the euphoric spirit that the original piece wanted to speculate on”. The role earned him a Golden Globe nomination in 1980.

The role of his life

Originally planned for Brian De Palma, The Prince of New York (1981) features Danny Ciello, a New York policeman, inspired by a real character, Detective Robert Leuci, of the narcotics squad. Sidney Lumet (1924-2011), who picked up the film, wanted to hire an actor still little known to play the role of this tortured cop who led to the indictment for corruption of several of his colleagues. It will be Treat Williams, who, to get into the skin of her character, will participate in real police raids. The journey of this anti-hero, manipulated by justice and the FBI, and who will go from enthusiasm to despair after realizing that his investigation would compromise his own friends, is a kind of way of the cross, intensely expressed by a actor who held there, therefore, the role of his life.

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