Hilarie Burton Reveals Touching Tattoo She Got to Honor Willie Garson Before His Death

Hilarie Burton shared the sweet story behind her tattoo and how one of Willie Garson's endearing phrases was the sole inspiration for it.

By Alyssa Morin Sep 22, 2021 11:29 PMTags
Watch: "Sex and the City" Star Willie Garson Dead at 57

Hilarie Burton is sharing the special way she'll forever honor Willie Garson.

Less than a day after the Sex and the City actor unexpectedly passed away at the age of 57, Hilarie took to Instagram to pen an emotional tribute to her longtime friend and former White Collar co-star.

"My phone hasn't stopped," the One Tree Hill actress began her caption on Sept. 22. "Friends. Coworkers. Total strangers. The world knows that @willie.garson has been a pivotal player in my life."

Prior to the actor's death, Hilarie revealed that she got a tattoo dedicated to Willie and one of his most endearing phrases: Calm down.

"He would pay you the biggest compliment in the world," she explained. "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!'"

Willie Garson's Iconic Sex and the City Moments

She continued, "And then laughter. He'd stop you before you could rebuff the compliment. Calm down. I can hear him saying it."

Hilarie said she received Willie's blessing to get the expression inked on her forearm.


"Before I went to see him, I needed him to know how I felt," she shared. "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 actress also reminisced over the touching gift Willie gave her and Jeffrey Dean Morgan after they tied the knot in October 2019.

"I wept when Willie sent Jeffrey and me a wedding present. A first edition copy of Grapes of Wrath," Hilarie wrote, alongside a letter Willie penned. "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."


Hilarie expressed that she and her husband are "devasted" by the SATC star's loss.

The actress hopes to keep his memory alive by making his final dream a reality. She explained that Willie had been "toying with an idea for a book" for quite some time, and he recently finished it.

"He wrote the book. And recently he asked if I'd help his family get it published for his son Nathen," Hilarie explained. "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."

She concluded, "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."

Click here to read through the heartwarming tributes other stars have shared in Willie's honor.