18 March 1963, Tarrytown, New York, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
Vanessa Lynn Williams must be credited with making one of the most startling and unexpected comebacks in show business history. Born to teacher parents in New York City, 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 landed a recording contract and released several hit albums, including "The Comfort Zone" and "The Sweetest Days". After performing in television roles and music videos, she began appearing in films like Another You (1991) and Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991). She scored her first big hit film with the thriller Eraser (1996), co-starring with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and followed it up with Soul Food (1997) and the remake of Shaft (2000). She managed to keep her high school promise and performed on Broadway in the musical "Kiss of the Spider Woman", a musical based on the Academy-Award winning film of the same name. As of this writing, she is one of the most beautiful and sought after performers around and she is in rehearsals to star in the Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's musical "Into The Woods". She continues to alternate between recording, the stage, films and television.
IMDb Mini Biography By: subcity
Vanessa Williams is one of the most respected and multi-faceted performers in entertainment today. She has conquered the musical charts, Broadway, music videos, television and motion pictures. She has sold millions of albums worldwide and she has achieved critical acclaim as an actress on stage, in film and on television.
Her albums "The Right Stuff", "The Comfort Zone and "The Sweetest Days" earned multiple Grammy nominations and have yielded such classic hits as "Save the Best For Last", "Dreamin", "Work To Do" and "Love Is", and the Academy Award-winning single "Colors of the Wind", from Disney's Pocahontas: The Musical Tradition Continues (1995) (TV), among many others. 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".
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) (TV), The Kid Who Loved Christmas (1990) (TV), The Jacksons: An American Dream (1992) (TV), ABC's revival of Bye Bye Birdie (1995) (TV), Nothing Lasts Forever (1995) (TV), "The Odyssey" (1997), Don Quixote (2000) (TV) and Keep the Faith, Baby (2002) (TV), and she executive-produced and starred in Lifetime's The Courage to Love (2000) (TV) for Lifetime and the VH1 Original Movie, A Diva's Christmas Carol (2000) (TV). 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: Brad Cafarelli
Rick Fox (26 September 1999 - 2005) (divorced) 1 child
Ramon Hervey (2 January 1987 - 1997) (divorced) 3 children
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 & 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, USA
Often confused with actress Vanessa Williams.
As a Junior at Syracuse University, she was crowned Miss America in the fall of 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 (b. 1987), Jillian (b. 1989), and Devin (b. 1993), Sasha (b. 2000).
Was the first black contestant in the hot seat on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (1999/I).
Was nominated for Broadway's 2002 Tony Award as Best Actress (Musical) for a revival of "Into The Woods."
Spokesperson for Proactive Solution (Acne Medication).
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.
Measurements: 34C-24-34 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine).
Her runner-up, Suzette Charles, became the second African-American Miss America after her resignation.
Is the sister of Chris Williams.
Sang the National Anthem at Arnold Schwarzenegger's inauguration as Governor of California. (17 November 2003)
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 19 March 2007.
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.
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.
Where Are They Now
(2003) living in Chappaqua, New York
(2006) Hostess of an infomercial for "Proactiv Solution" acne medication. Also appearing are Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Simpson, Kelly Clarkson and Sean Combs.
(2007) Hostess of an infomercial for "Proactiv Solution" acne medication. Also appearing are Jessica Simpson, Serena Williams, Sean Combs, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Melissa Claire Egan.
(2008) Hostess of an infomercial for "Proactiv Solution" acne medication. Also appearing are Chrishell Stause, Ryan Sheckler, Melissa Claire Egan, Natalia Livingston, Serena Williams, Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Berry and Jennifer Love Hewitt.
(January 2009) living in Chappaqua, New York
(March 2010) ...until June 13: Studio 54 on Broadway, starring in Roundabout Theatre Company's 'Sondheim on Sondheim'.