Vanessa Williams Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (3)  | Trivia (28)  | Personal Quotes (5)

Overview (4)

Born in Tarrytown, New York, USA
Birth NameVanessa Lynn Williams
Nicknames Van
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Vanessa Lynn Williams was born in Millwood, New York, to Helen L. (Tinch) and Milton Augustine Williams, Jr., both music teachers. Vanessa and her brother grew up in suburban New York in comfortable surroundings. Vanessa sang and danced in school productions and signed her high school yearbook with a promise to "see you on Broadway". After winning a performing scholarship to Syracuse University, she left school and tried to make it in New York show business. She began entering beauty contests in 1984, eventually winning Miss New York and then becoming the first African-American Miss America. During her reign, some nude girl-girl photos, taken while she was in New York, surfaced in Penthouse magazine. Although the photos were taken before her beauty contest victories, she was forced to resign her crown. Many predicted that her future in show business was over. She went on to land a recording contract and released several albums, including "The Comfort Zone" and "The Sweetest Days".

Vanessa made her film debut in 1986 in Under the Gun (1988) and appeared in the films The Pick-up Artist (1987), Another You (1991) and Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991). She starred opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in Eraser (1996), opposite Laurence Fishburne and Andy Garcia in Hoodlum (1997) and the box office hit, Soul Food (1997). She also starred in Dance with Me (1998), Light It Up (1999), Shaft (2000), opposite Samuel L. Jackson and Johnson Family Vacation (2004). She starred recently in the independent features, My Brother (2006) and And Then Came Love (2007) (aka "Somebody Like You"). On television, Vanessa starred in such movies and mini-series as Stompin' at the Savoy (1992), The Kid Who Loved Christmas (1990), The Jacksons: An American Dream (1992), ABC's revival of Bye Bye Birdie (1995), Nothing Lasts Forever (1995), The Odyssey (1997), Don Quixote (2000) and Keep the Faith, Baby (2002), and she executive-produced and starred in Lifetime's The Courage to Love (2000) for Lifetime and the VH1 Original Movie, A Diva's Christmas Carol (2000).

Her albums "The Right Stuff", "The Comfort Zone and "The Sweetest Days" earned multiple Grammy nominations and have yielded the Academy Award-winning single "Colors of the Wind", from Disney's Pocahontas: The Musical Tradition Continues (1995). Her recordings also include two holiday albums, "Star Bright" and "Silver & Gold", "Vanessa Williams Greatest Hits: The First Ten Years" and "Everlasting Love", a romantic collection of love songs from the 1970's. In 1994, Vanessa took Broadway by storm when she replaced Chita Rivera in "Kiss of the Spider Woman", winning the hearts of critics and becoming a box-office sensation. She garnered rave reviews and was nominated for a Tony Award for the 2002 revival of "Into the Woods". She also headlined a limited special engagement of the classic, "Carmen Jones", at the Kennedy Center and starred in the Encore! Series staged concert production of "St. Louis Woman".

She stars in ABC's critically-acclaimed hit series, Ugly Betty (2006), for which she has won or been nominated for numerous individual and ensemble awards, including the Emmy, SAG Award, Golden Globe and NAACP Image Awards. Vanessa achieved a career pinnacle, with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her accomplishments as a performer. Her charitable endeavors are many and varied, embracing and supporting such organizations as Special Olympics and many others.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: subcity and Brad Cafarelli

Spouse (3)

Jim Skrip (4 July 2015 - present)
Rick Fox (26 September 1999 - 2005) ( divorced) ( 1 child)
Ramon Hervey (2 January 1987 - 1997) ( divorced) ( 3 children)

Trivia (28)

Was originally cast as Jane Toussaint in Spike Lee's School Daze (1988), but was replaced by Tisha Campbell-Martin due to artistic differences.
Parents, Milton Williams and Helen Williams, were both music teachers.
In 1981, she won a musical theatre scholarship to Syracuse University. However, she eventually lost those funds. That led to her entry in the Miss America pageant.
Grew up in Millwood, New York.
Often confused with actress Vanessa Williams.
As a Junior at Syracuse University, she was crowned Miss America in fall 1983 and dropped out to fulfill her contractual duties, but she eventually earned her Bachelor's degree from the Syracuse University School of Visual and Performing Arts on May 10, 2008.
Former Miss America 1984, resigned after nude photos surfaced in Penthouse magazine. The centerfold model for that issue was 16-year-old Traci Lords. Because Ms. Lords was underage, it is illegal to own or trade that issue of the magazine, unless the centerfold pictorial is removed.
Has four children: Melanie Hervey (b. 1987), Jillian Hervey (b. 1989), Devin Hervey (b. 1993) (with Ramon Hervey) and Sasha Fox (b. 2000) (with Rick Fox.
Was the first black contestant in the hot seat on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (1999).
Was nominated for Broadway's 2002 Tony Award as Best Actress (Musical) for a revival of "Into the Woods".
Attended Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, New York.
Was introduced to husband Rick Fox by his then-girlfriend, model Tyra Banks. When his romance with Banks ended, Fox and Williams began dating.
She and Rick Fox eloped to the Caribbean in the Summer of 1999, but promised family and friends they would re-tie the knot that Fall, which they did in a lavish ceremony at the Church of the Holy Trinity in New York City, followed by a gala reception at the St. Regis Hotel.
Did commercials for Radio Shack from 2001 with Howie Long and Ving Rhames, and, from 2003, husband Rick Fox. She also did spots for Crest, and a late-night infomercial for skin care product, Proactive Solution.
Her runner-up, Suzette Charles, became the second African-American Miss America after her resignation.
Older sister of Chris Williams.
(November 17, 2003) Sang the National Anthem at Arnold Schwarzenegger's inauguration as Governor of California.
Celebrity spokesperson for Proactive Solution (Acne Medication).
Ranked #56 on VH1's 100 Sexiest Artists.
Turned down the role in Monster's Ball (2001), which later went to Halle Berry.
In 2007, she became one of the highest-paid spokespersons of all time in the world of infomercial products when she signed a $20-million contract with ProActive Solution.
She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on March 19, 2007.
Ex-sister-in-law of Jeanene Fox.
Has a skin-care line called "Revitalistic" [2012].
Currently living in Chappaqua, New York. [January 2009]
Daughter Jillian Hervey is lead singer-dancer for "Lion Babe".
Appears with her brother Chris Williams and children Melanie Hervey, Jillian Hervey and Devin Hervey in The Courage to Love (2000).
She was nominated for a 2002 Antoinette Perry (Tony) Award for Best Actress in a Musical for "Into The Woods" on Broadway in New York City.

Personal Quotes (5)

I throw myself into my work. It's exhausting. It's time-consuming. I feel guilty for not being with my kids all the time. But then when I'm home with my children and devoting my life to my kids, in the back of my mind, I'm wondering whether I'll ever get employed again. So there's a constant battle of doing what fuels me and what I do best. And also, being there for my kids.
I think there's a time to work, and everyone had to kind of adjust. And then there's a time to relax, and be the mom or take the kids on vacation when you need to wind down. So it's a matter of planning, and being able to map out your year or your week or let's start with the day. It is just being multi-tasking and being available.
I am lucky to have three daughters who are completely different. I look at my daughters and I have different relationships with all three and there are parts of each personality that are very special.
The wiser you get, the more experience you have, and the more you see people for who they are as human beings, as opposed to figures you have to fight against.
My view of a diva, just as a performer, is somebody who gives a brilliant performance and is so amazing that you leap to your feet and you're clapping "Brava, diva". That's how I grew up, that's what my expectations were for excellence.

See also

Other Works |  Publicity Listings |  Official Sites

View agent, publicist, legal and company contact details on IMDbPro Pro Name Page Link

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed