Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Vanessa Williams

 
Birth Place:
Bronx, NY, USA
Bio:
Williams initially gained recognition as the first woman of African-American descent to receive the Miss America title when she was crowned Miss America 1984 in 1983. However, a scandal arose the following year when, a few weeks prior to the end of her reign, Williams learned that Penthouse ... (read complete bio)
TweetTWITTER WATCH

@VWOfficial - 8/5/22 01:08pm #flashbackfriday 80s fashion ? https://


@VWOfficial - 7/31/22 05:24pm That’s a wrap @shrutirya ? A super talented cast led by you at the helm. Can’t wait to see it all put together @ Sw… https://


MORE TWEETS
 
Date of Birth: March 18, 1963 (59)

Birth Place: Bronx, NY, USA

Bio:
Williams initially gained recognition as the first woman of African-American descent to receive the Miss America title when she was crowned Miss America 1984 in 1983. However, a scandal arose the following year when, a few weeks prior to the end of her reign, Williams learned that Penthouse ... (read complete bio)

Stage Credits

  [Broadway]
Original Broadway Production, 2022
Margaret
  [West End]
West End Revival, 2020
Carla/Alaura
  [Off-Broadway]
City Center Encores! Production, 2018
Performer
  [Los Angeles]
Hollywood Bowl Revival, 2017
Performer
  [Broadway]
Original Broadway Production, 2013
Special Guest Star [Replacement]
  [Broadway]
2013
Performer
  [Broadway]
Roundabout Production, 2010
Performer
  [Broadway]
Broadway Revival, 2002
Witch
  [Los Angeles]
Los Angeles Revival (Pre-Broadway), 2002
Witch
  [Broadway]
Broadway Production, 1993
Spider Woman/Aurora [Replacement]
Spider Woman / Aurora [Replacement]
  [Broadway]
Original Broadway Production, 1991
Bootsie
Daisy (Understudy)
  [Broadway]
Broadway Transfer, 1988
Vanessa
  [Broadway]
1987
Ensemble

 

Stage

Performances
  [Broadway]
Original Broadway Production, 2022
Margaret

  [West End]
West End Revival, 2020
Carla/Alaura

  [Off-Broadway]
City Center Encores! Production, 2018
Performer

  [Los Angeles]
Hollywood Bowl Revival, 2017
Performer

  [Broadway]
Original Broadway Production, 2013
Special Guest Star [Replacement]

  [Broadway]
2013
Performer

  [Broadway]
Roundabout Production, 2010
Performer

  [Broadway]
Broadway Revival, 2002
Witch

  [Los Angeles]
Los Angeles Revival (Pre-Broadway), 2002
Witch

  [Broadway]
Broadway Production, 1993
Spider Woman/Aurora [Replacement]

Spider Woman / Aurora [Replacement]

  [Broadway]
Original Broadway Production, 1991
Bootsie

Daisy (Understudy)

  [Broadway]
Broadway Transfer, 1988
Vanessa

  [Broadway]
1987
Ensemble

Vanessa Williams Biography

Williams initially gained recognition as the first woman of African-American descent to receive the Miss America title when she was crowned Miss America 1984 in 1983. However, a scandal arose the following year when, a few weeks prior to the end of her reign, Williams learned that Penthouse magazine would be publishing now "iconic" unauthorized nude photographs of her in an upcoming issue. Amid growing media controversy and scrutiny, Williams resigned as Miss America in July 1984 (under pressure from the Miss America Organization) and was replaced by first runner-up Miss New Jersey Suzette Charles. Thirty-two years later, Miss America CEO Sam Haskell offered her a public apology (during the Miss America 2016 pageant) for the events of 1984.

Williams rebounded from the scandal with a successful career as a singer and actress. In 1988, she released her debut studio album The Right Stuff, whose title single saw moderate success before "Dreamin'" peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in the United States in 1989. With her second and third studio albums, The Comfort Zone (1991) and The Sweetest Days (1994), she saw continued commercial success and received multiple Grammy Award nominations; this included her number-one hit (in early 1992) and signature song, "Save the Best for Last", which she performed live at the 1993 Grammy Awards ceremonies. Her later studio albums include Everlasting Love (2005) and The Real Thing (2009).

As an actress, Williams enjoyed success on both stage and screen, receiving an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture for her portrayal of Teri Joseph in the film Soul Food (1997). Her best-known television roles are that of Wilhelmina Slater on Ugly Betty (2006‚Äď10), for which she was nominated three times for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, and Renee Perry on Desperate Housewives (2010‚Äď12).

Vanessa Williams Awards and Nominations

 
Drama League Awards - 2013 - Distinguished Performance Award
Vanessa Williams, The Trip to Bountiful
 
Outer Critics Circle Awards - 2013 - Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Vanessa Williams, The Trip to Bountiful
 
Tony Awards - 2002 - Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Vanessa Williams, Into the Woods

Vanessa Williams News

Black Theatre United Announces Digital Unconscious Bias Training Program Photo Black Theatre United Announces Digital Unconscious Bias Training Program
by Chloe Rabinowitz - Aug 4, 2022

Black Theatre United has engaged Christina Alexander of Alexander Consulting Group to create a digital Unconscious Bias and Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Accessibility & Belonging (EDIAB) training program for use by the entire theatrical industry.

POTUS to be Filmed for New York Public Library For The Performing Arts Photo POTUS to be Filmed for New York Public Library For The Performing Arts
by Chloe Rabinowitz - Aug 2, 2022

The world premiere of Selina Fillinger’s modern farce POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive, will be filmed for the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. 

Words From the Wings: Lilli Cooper of POTUS on Watching Her Castmates Break Character Photo Words From the Wings: Lilli Cooper of POTUS on Watching Her Castmates Break Character, and More!
by Stephi Wild - Aug 1, 2022

We're chatting with Lilli Cooper, who is currently starring in POTUS on Broadway. She shared with us her favorite backstage must-haves, moments to watch from the wings, and more! Check out her answers here!

Music, Theatre, Comedy, And Special Events To Highlight 2022 Fall Season At Staller  Photo Music, Theatre, Comedy, And Special Events To Highlight 2022 Fall Season At Staller Center For The Arts 
by A.A. Cristi - Jul 25, 2022

A dynamic array of inspiring and matchless performances will highlight the 2022 Fall season at Staller Center for the Arts. With a diverse lineup of performers, Staller Center showcases both emerging and established artists of wide-ranging appeal. 

Photos: Hillary Clinton Joins LaChanze, Julie White, Donna Murphy, and Vanessa Willia Photo Photos: Hillary Clinton Joins LaChanze, Julie White, Donna Murphy, and Vanessa Williams at BroadwayCon
by Stephi Wild - Jul 11, 2022

Former First Lady and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton took the BroadwayCon mainstage for an exclusive conversation with Broadway legends, LaChanze, Julie White, Donna Murphy, and Vanessa Williams. Check out photos from the panel here!

Photos: Go Inside Broadway Barks with Bernadette Peters & More! Photo Photos: Go Inside Broadway Barks with Bernadette Peters & More!
by Bruce Glikas - Jul 10, 2022

Over the past 23 years, more than 2,000 cats and dogs have stolen Broadway's spotlight and the hearts of all who come to Broadway Barks, which returned to Shubert Alley for the 24th annual star-studded dog and cat adoption event, the first in-person event since 2018. Check out photos from inside Broadway Barks 2022!

Photos: Hillary Clinton, Maya Rudolph and More Visit POTUS on Broadway Photo Photos: Hillary Clinton, Maya Rudolph and More Visit POTUS on Broadway
by Bruce Glikas - Jul 8, 2022

Hillary Clinton, Maya Rudolph, and more special guests visited POTUS on Broadway last night, July 7. BroadwayWorld was there to capture photos of the guests with the POTUS cast. Check out the photos here!

VIDEO: Hillary Clinton Visits POTUS on Broadway Photo VIDEO: Hillary Clinton Visits POTUS on Broadway
by Stephi Wild - Jul 7, 2022

Hillary Clinton stopped by POTUS on Broadway last night, and we've got video of her arriving and taking her seat!

THE SONGS OF DOROTHY DANDRIDGE! THE MUSICAL Announced At Zankel Hall At Carnegie Hall Photo THE SONGS OF DOROTHY DANDRIDGE! THE MUSICAL Announced At Zankel Hall At Carnegie Hall
by A.A. Cristi - Jul 1, 2022

Producers Richard Bell, N'Kenge, Park Row Equity Partners, Tegan Summer, Sam Williams, Michael Loeb and Derow Enterprises, in association with Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts, announce the presentation of ‚ÄúThe Songs of Dorothy Dandridge! The Musical,‚ÄĚ selections from the upcoming production of Dorothy Dandridge! The Musical, with book and lyrics by Trey Ellis and music and lyrics by Shelton L. Becton, directed by Tamara Tunie at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall.

Hillary Clinton to Moderate BroadwayCon Panel Featuring Vanessa Williams, Julie White Photo Hillary Clinton to Moderate BroadwayCon Panel Featuring Vanessa Williams, Julie White & LaChanze
by Chloe Rabinowitz - Jul 1, 2022

Hillary Clinton will be moderating a BroadwayCon panel with legendary women of Broadway! The panel will feature LaChanze, Julie White, and Vanessa Williams, and take place on Friday, July 8 at 1 PM. 

Vanessa Williams Videos

VIDEO: Vanessa Williams, Rachel Dratch, & Julianne Hough Talk POTUS on THE VIEW VideoVIDEO: Vanessa Williams, Rachel Dratch, & Julianne Hough Talk POTUS on THE VIEW
by Michael Major - May 26, 2022

Vanessa Williams, Rachel Dratch, and Julianne Hough sat down with the women of The View to discuss POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive. The stars discussed the inspiration behind the play, the timeless issues explored in the show, and more.

VIDEO: Lea DeLaria Discusses Celebrating Her Birthday With Her POTUS Co-Stars on WEND VideoVIDEO: Lea DeLaria Discusses Celebrating Her Birthday With Her POTUS Co-Stars on WENDY
by Michael Major - May 25, 2022

Lea DeLaria sat down on the Wendy Show with guest host Sherri Shepherd to discuss her current Broadway run in POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive. DeLaria spoke on her character in the show and celebrating her 64th birthday with Vanessa Williams and Rachel Dratch.

VIDEO: Rachel Dratch Reveals How SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE Prepared Her For Broadway on FAL VideoVIDEO: Rachel Dratch Reveals How SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE Prepared Her For Broadway on FALLON
by Michael Major - May 24, 2022

Rachel Dratch sat down with Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show last night to discuss her current Broadway run in POTUS. During the interview, Dratch discussed her recent Tony nomination for the play, taking her son to her show, and how SNL prepared her for her Broadway debut.

VIDEO: Julianne Hough Performs Some of Her POTUS Rap on LIVE! With Kelly & Ryan VideoVIDEO: Julianne Hough Performs Some of Her POTUS Rap on LIVE! With Kelly & Ryan
by Michael Major - May 13, 2022

Julianne Hough appeared on LIVE! With Kelly & Ryan this morning to discuss her current Broadway run in POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive. During the interview, Hough discussed the rap that she performs in the play, giving a sneak peek at what audiences can expect.

VIDEO: Go Inside POTUS With CBS SUNDAY MORNING VideoVIDEO: Go Inside POTUS With CBS SUNDAY MORNING
by Marissa Tomeo - May 8, 2022

The cast and creative team of Broadway's POTUS: OR, BEHIND EVERY GREAT DUMBASS ARE SEVEN WOMEN TRYING TO KEEP HIM ALIVE stopped by CBS Sunday Morning today to talk with correspondent Rita Braver.

VIDEO: Go Inside Opening Night of POTUS on Broadway! VideoVIDEO: Go Inside Opening Night of POTUS on Broadway!
by BroadwayWorld TV - May 7, 2022

Earlier this week, Selina Fillinger's new Broadway comedy POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive, celebrated its opening gala at the Shubert Theatre and BroadwayWorld was there for the special day and we're taking you inside the festivities!

VIDEO: Vanessa Williams & Rachel Dratch Discuss the Inspiration Behind POTUS on TODAY VideoVIDEO: Vanessa Williams & Rachel Dratch Discuss the Inspiration Behind POTUS on TODAY
by Michael Major - Apr 21, 2022

Vanessa Williams and Rachel Dratch appeared on the TODAY Show to discuss POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive. The pair discussed the inspiration behind some of the characters in the play, Williams' high-heeled crocs, how Broadway differs from Saturday Night Live, and more.

VIDEO: Go Inside the First Performance of POTUS on Broadway VideoVIDEO: Go Inside the First Performance of POTUS on Broadway
by BroadwayWorld TV - Apr 15, 2022

The world premiere of Selina Fillinger’s modern farce POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive celebrated its inaugural Broadway performance last night in presidential fashion, as the cast exited the Shubert Theatre stage door to roaring fans and a patriotic motorcade.

VIDEO: Rachel Dratch Talks Broadway Debut in POTUS on LATE NIGHT VideoVIDEO: Rachel Dratch Talks Broadway Debut in POTUS on LATE NIGHT
by Michael Major - Mar 29, 2022

Rachel Dratch sat down on Late Night with Seth Meyers to discuss making her Broadway debut in POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive. Dratch also discussed starring in her high school production of Music Man, bringing her son to Fiddler on the Roof, and more. Watch the new interview now!

VIDEO: In Rehearsals for ANYONE CAN WHISTLE at Carnegie Hall VideoVIDEO: In Rehearsals for ANYONE CAN WHISTLE at Carnegie Hall
by BroadwayWorld TV - Mar 10, 2022

Tonight, March 10, 2022, the concert production of MasterVoices' performance of Anyone Can Whistle, takes the stage at ‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč Carnegie Hall. The performance will star Vanessa Williams, who performed in the 2002 Broadway revival of Sondheim's Into the Woods and the 2010 revue Sondheim on Sondheim, in the role of a corrupt mayor of a small economically depressed American town.


Vanessa Williams Frequently Asked Questions

How many Broadway shows has Vanessa Williams been in?
Vanessa Williams has appeared on Broadway in 9 shows.

How many West End shows has Vanessa Williams been in?
Vanessa Williams has appeared on London's West End in 1 shows.

What was Vanessa Williams's first West End show?
Vanessa Williams's first West End show was City of Angels which opened in 2020

What awards has Vanessa Williams been nominated for?
Distinguished Performance Award (Drama League Awards) for The Trip to Bountiful Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play (Outer Critics Circle Awards) for The Trip to Bountiful and Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical (Tony Awards) for Into the Woods .