"Whenever something good happens for me in my life, I can draw a straight line back to somebody who was supposed to be here tonight," Williams began. She went on to explain, "Mary Beth Peil played my grams on Dawson's Creek. I was an emancipated minor when we met. I was 16 years old, and I was totally alone. Mary Beth Peil was the first artist that I'd ever met in my life. She didn't call herself that, but there was something different about her—it was the way that she asked questions, the way that she leaned into conversations, and how she excited she seemed for every moment of every day on our TV set."
Michelle Williams, who received a performer tribute at this year's #GothamAwards, commended her #DawsonsCreek co-star Mary Beth Peil during her speech. https://t.co/Zr7PrBepzi pic.twitter.com/Vwpz27onai— Variety (@Variety) November 29, 2022
"She showed me that creativity is more than a mere profession," Williams summarized of Peil's wide-spanning career. Recounting how Peil has supported her throughout the years, and what it meant to be Peil's "girl," Williams thanks Peil for the foundational experience of playing her granddaughter.
Williams has starred twice on Broadway, originally making her debut as Sally Bowles in the 2014 revival of Cabaret. For her performance as Una in Blackbird, she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. The actor has also won the Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe for her portrayal of Gwen Verdon in Fosse/Verdon. Her first Golden Globe win was for My Week With Marilyn in which she portrayed the Hollywood icon, a role which also earned her an Oscar nomination.
Currently starring Off-Broadway in Classic Stage Company's A Man of No Importance, Peil was most recently seen on Broadway in 2018 as Anastasia's Dowager Empress, her career on the Main Stem began in 1985 opposite Yul Brynner in The King and I. She has also starred in Nine, Sunday in the Park with George, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Follies, The Visit, and Les Liaisons Dangereuses.