Garson wasn't one of the show's leads as Stanford Blatch, "but Stanford was a perpetual presence — reliably warm, witty and humane even when being drawn in once again to Carrie’s chaos," says Daniel D'Addario. He says that "Garson brought cleverness and craft to the part, so much so that Stanford became a vital part of the show’s lore," from the original series, to the movies and the upcoming And Just Like That HBO Max revival. D'Addario adds: "Much has been written about the friendships among the women on Sex and the City, and about the love matches between the show’s four central figures and the men they chose. But Stanford had a special place on the show as a choice Carrie kept making — the one who, outside of the show’s whirl and its rock-solid quartet, provided crucial insights to and about Carrie. With his friend, he alternatingly delivered a sort of tender tough love and a gleeful indulgence she couldn’t find elsewhere; to viewers, he revealed to us Carrie’s ongoing desire for deep, sustaining connection outside of her core group. Which is not to say that Garson’s purpose on the show was only to reflect star Sarah Jessica Parker’s glow — although, as a consummate scene partner, he did that elegantly. As the show went on, Garson also came to conjure a painful need of his own, a sense of yearning and of confusion in matters of the heart. On the edges of the show, Stanford’s story mirrored the protagonist’s own journey, and suggested a whole universe of lonely people trying to find their way in Carrie’s Manhattan. He was a figure of glamour, and Garson’s ease with erudition and comfort in a loud suit made Stanford sing. But there was soulfulness here as well that Garson’s performance pushed to the fore; Stanford was a supporting character, and a supportive one, but his big, aching heart ensured he wasn’t on the show’s sidelines."
Willie Garson's Stanford Blatch was a pioneering portrayal of gay men on TV: "Unlike the trim and impeccably coiffed Will Truman on Will & Grace or the muscular hairless party boys on Queer as Folk, Stanford did not conform to physical portrayals of gay men on TV in that era," says Lawrence Yee. "In a culture where biceps were valued over brains and sex over substance, Garson’s Stanford stood out. Bespectacled, balding and with a little bit of a belly, he wrapped himself in stylish suits (he was a fashion publicist) and hurled quips — two ways of defending himself in a culture where he felt he didn’t belong. 'Puberty is a phase, 15 years of rejection is a lifestyle,' he dryly noted."
Hilarie Burton reveals she's trying to get Garson's memoir published: “Willie was a romantic friend. Deeply thoughtful. Intentional with his effort and attention and devotion,” Burton -- who responded to Garson's final tweet three weeks ago -- wrote on Instagram. “Social media is ablaze right now with evidence of that…..each person in his life felt special. Spoiled, even. Willie most definitely spoiled me.” She added that Garson “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.” Burton also revealed she got a tattoo to honor Garson before his death.