A Look Back At Hallmark Star Barbara Niven's Sweet Friendship With The Late Treat Williams

Hallmark actor Treat Williams died at 71 years old in June 2023, due to a motorcycle crash. He was known for performances in projects such as the CW's "Everwood,"  "The Christmas House" movies, and "Chesapeake Shores" for Hallmark. He was good friends with his "Chesapeake Shores" co-star Barbara Niven. They played Mick O'Brien and Megan O'Brien, a divorced couple who reunite over the course of the show. In various interviews, the actors raved about working together and gave fans glimpses of their off-screen friendship born from on-screen work.

In a 2022 interview before the Season 6 premiere, Williams and Niven were interviewed by Entertainment Tonight's Deidre Behar for a Hallmark Channel YouTube video, alongside co-stars Andrew Francis and Robert Buckley. Williams spoke about his and Niven's characters and said: "I thought we were really wonderful acting partners this year. We had some great stuff." Niven emphasized, "Great stuff!" Williams expressed gratitude for having Niven by his side, and they reminisced about an enjoyable scene they filmed involving pie.

Later on in the interview, Williams spoke about some of his character's struggles and added, "But I also think that Barbara and I had such a gorgeous, beautiful journey in the show." When the conversation turned to Mick and Megan's relationship, Niven hinted at things turning amorous for the couple and said, "Can I just say that Treat Williams is a dang good kisser?" Francis and Buckley, nearly in unison, quipped, "I can second that!"

Barbara Niven shared kind words for Treat Williams on social media after his death

Treat Williams' death was heartbreaking for his family, friends, and fans. Barbara Niven took to Instagram to share an emotional tribute to Williams following his death.

In the caption, Niven said, "What a shock to hear that my dear friend and coworker Treat Williams has died. Such an unexpected and immense loss." She sent her condolences to Treat's family and spoke more about the kind of person he was, adding: "He loved his craft and it was an honor to spend six years with him on Chesapeake Shores. He truly was the patriarch of our family, both on and off the set. And he made it so much fun."

Niven also commended Williams' acting prowess and his hobby of piloting airplanes. She shared a poem that she loved that reminded her of Williams — John Gillespie Magee's "High Flight" — and referenced a line from the poem when she said: "I always asked Treat, is that what it feels like? Did you touch God today? I think that's what he is doing right now." Many people left kind, supportive messages on Niven's post and expressed their own heartbreak at the news.

The Chesapeake Shores cast felt like a family, in part due to Williams

After Treat Williams' death was announced, Barbara Niven was interviewed by Deidre Behar again for Entertainment Tonight. Niven spoke a lot about how much Williams meant to her and said: "It's really hard to even consider the fact that he's not here because he was so, he was just so larger than life. He just filled up the room, filled up the set. ... What a blessing to be able to have worked with him on 'Chesapeake' for six years you know, in that kind of atmosphere where we all became a family because we were on Vancouver Island for four months out of the year."

The "North to Home" actor spoke further on the familial bond between the "Chesapeake Shores" cast and how it was felt on the final day of shooting when they filmed Mick and Megan getting remarried. Niven also shared details about good times with Williams and the cast at his house in Vancouver Island, in the form of movie nights and home-cooked meals.

When Behar asked Niven about Williams' "legacy," she replied: "To not settle for less than wonderful in your life. If you have a dream, go after it." Niven also implored people to learn from Williams that you can lose someone you love in the blink of an eye, so remind your loved ones that you care for them often.