Why Dawson's Creek 's Mary Beth Peil Missed Michelle Williams' Tribute at the Gotham Awards

Busy Philipps doesn't want to make you wait for an answer on this.

After Michelle Williams gave a moving tribute to her Dawson's Creek grandma Mary Beth Peil at the 2022 Gotham Film Awards, Philipps explained why the 82-year-old was not in the audience at the Nov. 28 event in NYC.

"My bff was honored at the Gotham Awards last night with the Artist Tribute and I was so honored, as always, to be her date," she wrote on Instagram. "Michelle, in true Michelle form, took the opportunity of being honored to pay tribute and honor the great Mary Beth Peil and to talk about how working with Mary Beth changed Michelle's life and career."

Philipps continued, "Anyway, it was really beautiful and I wish Mary Beth had been there with us (she was supposed to be but she didn't feel well)."

From 1998 to 2003, Williams starred as Jen Lindley opposite Peil's Evelyn "Grams" Ryan on the hit team drama. (Philipps played Audrey Liddell in the final two seasons). While accepting her performer tribute award, the actress shared the impact Peil had on her both onscreen and off.

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"Whenever something good happens for me in my life, I can draw a straight line back to somebody who was meant to be here tonight but, being a New Yorker, means living in a reality that you are definitely not in control of," Williams said of Peil. "So she's not in the room, but she's in my heart."

Michelle Williams, Busy Philipps, 2022 Gotham Awards
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Gotham Film & Media Institute

She continued, "Mary Beth Peil was the first artist that I had ever met in my life. She didn't call herself that, but there was something different about her. It was the way she asked questions, the way that she leaned into conversations, and how excited she seemed for every moment of every day on our TV set. And I didn't know what this ineffable quality was, but I knew I wanted to pull my chair closer to hers."

Michelle Williams,  Mary Beth Peil, Dawson's Creek
The WB

She went on to credit Peil for preparing her for her latest role in Steven Spielberg's The Fabelmans, which is already getting 2023 Oscar buzz. "I wouldn't have known how to handle being Steven Spielberg's mother without having been Mary Beth's granddaughter," Williams shared, "so thank you Mary Beth."

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