Treat Williams, actor known for role in 'Hair,' killed in motorcycle accident at 71

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Tuesday, June 13, 2023
Actor Treat Williams killed in motorcycle accident at 71
Actor Treat Williams has died at the age of 71 after getting into a motorcycle accident, according to his agent.

VERMONT -- Actor Treat Williams has died at the age of 71 after getting into a motorcycle accident, according to his agent.

The accident happened just before 5 p.m. Monday on Vermont Route 30 just north of Morse Hill Road in Dorset, Vermont.

State police say the crash involved a Honda Element and a 1986 Honda motorcycle driven by Williams.

They say the SUV, driven by 35-year-old Ryan Koss, attempted to turn left into a parking lot. The initial investigation indicates the Element stopped, signaled a left turn, and then turned into the path of the motorcycle.

Police say Williams was unable to avoid the crash and was thrown from his motorcycle. He suffered critical injuries and was airlifted to Albany Medical Center in Albany, New York, where he was pronounced dead.

"Sadly, Treat was killed in a motorcycle crash tonight. It is a tragedy," Treat's agent Barry McPherson said.

Koss was checked at the scene for minor injuries and was not taken to the hospital.

Born Richard Treat Williams in Rowayton, Connecticut, he studied theater in college and moved to New York shortly after graduating. There, he nabbed the understudy role to John Travolta in "Grease" and later replaced him as Danny Zuko.

Williams' versatile screen career included an early role in director Milos Forman's adaptation of the musical "Hair" in 1979, followed by a starring vehicle with another A-list director, Sidney Lumet, in the gritty undercover crime drama "Prince of the City" two years later.

While Williams appeared destined for major stardom, his next several movies didn't equal that early promise, though he continued to work steadily, including in a TV movie remake of "A Streetcar Named Desire" and additional TV movies in which he played boxer Jack Dempsey and FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover.

In the '90s, the actor segued into different kind of roles, playing the villain in the pulp-comic adaptation "The Phantom" and super-agent Michael Ovitz in the HBO movie based on the book "The Late Shift," about "The Tonight Show" succession battle between Jay Leno and David Letterman. He earned a Primetime Emmy nomination for that role.

Later in that decade, Williams enjoyed leading action star status in 1998's B-movie "Deep Rising," about a killer sea monster, starring opposite Famke Janssen, Wes Studi and Djimon Hounsou.

Williams subsequently found new success in television, starring in the CW series "Everwood" for four seasons in the aughts and a more recent stint on "Chicago Fire." He was also part of the core cast of "Chesapeake Shores," appearing in 53 episodes between 2016 and 2022. He last year also co-starred in the HBO miniseries "We Own This City," producer David Simon's chronicle of corruption and internal politics in the Baltimore police department.

The late actor is survived by his wife Pam Van Sant and their two children.

The investigation into this crash is in its early stages.

Police are asking anyone who witnessed or has information on the crash to call the Vermont State Police Shaftsbury Barracks at 802-442-5421 or leave an anonymous tip online at

CNN contributed to this report.