Vanessa Williams Headshot

Vanessa Williams

Date of Birth: March 18, 1963 (60)

Birth Place: Bronx, NY, USA

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Vanessa Williams 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 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 (2006–10), 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 (2010–12).

Vanessa Williams Photos

Vanessa Williams STAGE CREDITS

Original Broadway Production, 2022

[West End]
West End Revival, 2020

City Center Encores! Production, 2018

[Los Angeles]
Hollywood Bowl Revival, 2017

Original Broadway Production, 2013
Special Guest Star [Replacement]


Roundabout Production, 2010

Broadway Revival, 2002

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

Broadway Production, 1993
Spider Woman/Aurora [Replacement]

Spider Woman / Aurora [Replacement]

Original Broadway Production, 1991

Daisy (Understudy)

Broadway Transfer, 1988


Vanessa Williams Movies

[1987]The Pick-up Artist Rae

[1988]Under the Gun Samantha Richards

[1991]Another You Gloria

[1991]Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man Lulu Daniels

[1996]Eraser Lee

[1997]Soul Food Teri

[1997]Hoodlum Francine Hughes

[1998]Dance with Me Ruby Sinclair

[1999]Light It Up Audrey McDonald

[1999]The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland Queen of Trash

[2000]Shaft Carmen Vasquez

[2004]Johnson Family Vacation Dorothy Johnson

[2006]My Brother L'Tisha Morton

[2007]And Then Came Love Julie

[2009]Hannah Montana: The Movie Vita

[2012]Delhi Safari Begum

[2013]Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor Janice

[2013]He's Way More Famous Than You Vanessa Williams

[2014]When Marnie Was There Hisako

[2017]The Man from Earth: Holocene Carolyn

[2018]The Legend of Hallowaiian Fire Goddess

[2019]Miss Virginia Sally Rae

[2020]Bad Hair Zora

Vanessa Williams TV Shows

Partners in Crime Roselle Robins

The Love Boat Pearl

The Redd Foxx Show Jessica

T.J. Hooker Officer Pat Williamson

Full Exposure: The Sex Tapes Scandal Valentine Hayward

Perry Mason: The Case of the Silenced Singer Terri Knight

Seriously... Phil Collins Rachel, TV Executive

The Kid Who Loved Christmas Lynette Parks

Stompin' at the Savoy Pauline

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Danny Mitchell

The Jacksons: An American Dream Suzanne de Passe

Nothing Lasts Forever Dr. Kathy 'Kat' Hunter

Bye Bye Birdie Rose Alvarez

Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child Beauty

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Arandis

The Odyssey Calypso

Futuresport Alex Torres

L.A. Doctors Dr. Leanne Barrows

A Diva's Christmas Carol Ebony Scrooge

The Courage to Love Mother Henriette Delille

Don Quixote Dulcinea, Aldonza

WW 3 M.J. Blake

Santa, Baby! Alicia voice

Keep the Faith, Baby Hazel Scott

Ally McBeal Sheila Hunt

The Proud Family Debra

Boomtown Detective Katherine Pierce

South Beach Elizabeth Bauer

The Beautiful World of Ugly Betty Wilhelmina Slater

[ 2007-2008]Mama Mirabelle's Home Movies Mama Mirabelle

[ 2006-2010]Ugly Betty Wilhelmina Slater

[ 2010-2012]Desperate Housewives Renee Perry

[ 2012-2013]666 Park Avenue Olivia Doran

The Trip to Bountiful Jessie Mae Watts

The Good Wife Courtney Paige

Royal Pains Olympia Houston

Fantasy Life Terry

The Mindy Project Dr. Phillips

Broad City Elizabeth Carlton

Daytime Divas Maxine Robinson

Modern Family Rhonda

[ 2016-2017]The Librarians General Cynthia Rockwell

Difficult People Trish

False Profits Suzanne

Me, Myself and I Kelly Frasier

Doc McStuffins Delilah

Happy Accident Sherri

First Wives Club Nancy

Kenan Tasha

Girls5eva Nance Trace

[ 2020-2021]Twenties Angela

Vanessa Williams Awards and Nominations

Drama League Awards - 2013 - Distinguished Performance Award

Vanessa Williams, The Trip to Bountiful

Vanessa Williams Videos

Vanessa Williams News

Norm Lewis, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Skylar Astin Join Sondheim Celebration At Hollywood Bowl

Broadway stars Skylar Astin, Norm Lewis and Brian Stokes Mitchell will complete the glittering cast of Broadway luminaries for Everybody Rise! A Sondheim Celebration on Sunday, July 30, 2023, at the Hollywood Bowl. They are joined by previously announced three-time Tony Award-winner Patti LuPone, Sierra Boggess and Sutton Foster for this unforgettable concert program curated by Robert Longbottom and Kevin Stites and conducted by Stites.

Project1VOICE to Present 63/60- A JOYFUL CELEBRATION in June

Project1VOICE, an organization dedicated to supporting theatre and the performing arts by people of African descent has announced 63/60-A Joyful Celebration.

Listen: Matthew Scott's THE JESUS YEAR: A LETTER FROM MY DAD Out Now

PS CLASSICS, the label dedicated to the heritage of Broadway and American popular song, has announced the release of the debut album from actor-singer Matthew Scott, who has been lighting up the Broadway stage since making his debut in Jersey Boys. 

Exclusive: Get a First Listen to Matthew Scott's 'When the Earth Stopped Turning'

Get an exclusive first listen to Matthew Scott's “When the Earth Stopped Turning” off his upcoming album The Jesus Year: a letter from my dad.

JOSEPHINE: A MUSICAL CABARET Comes to The Segal Centre for Performing Arts This Month

The Segal Centre for Performing Arts will present the critically and multi-award-winning, Josephine: A Musical Cabaret starring Tymisha Harris and directed/choreographed by Sean Cheesman.

Tune In: Great Performances: Celebrating 50 Years of Broadway's Best Airs Tonight on PBS

BroadwayWorld is thrilled to remind you to tune in tonight, May 12, to your local PBS station and go for a fantastic ride with GREAT PERFORMANCES: Celebrating 50 Years of Broadway’s Best. We were lucky enough to receive an advance sneak peek and were enthralled for 1 hour and 26 minutes of some real razzle-dazzle.

Video: Watch Sara Bareilles & Jessie Mueller Sing 'She Used to Be Mine' From WAITRESS on the PBS Great Performances Concert

PBS has shared a sneak peek of Sara Bareilles and Jessie Mueller singing 'She Used to Be Mine' from Waitress the Musical from tonight's Great Performances: Celebrating 50 Years of Broadway’s Best concert. The concert also features Sutton Foster, Corbin Bleu, Chita Rivera, Shoshana Bean, Jessica Vosk, and more. Watch the video now!

Videos: Watch Sutton Foster Perform 'Being Alive' & More From the 'Great Performances' 50th Anniversary Concert

New videos from the upcoming Great Performances: Celebrating 50 Years of Broadway's Best concert have been revealed! Watch Sutton Foster perform 'Being Alive' from Company, Corbin Bleu executing a tap number from Jelly’s Last Jam and Rob McClure honoring musicals like Book of Mormon, Mamma Mia, Hairspray, and more in an impressive 4 minute medley.

The Cast of ALMOST FAMOUS Will Reunite on STARS IN THE HOUSE Next Week

“Stars In The House” co-hosts Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley are reuniting the cast of Almost Famous the Musical after their run on Broadway last fall.

Video: Paramount+ Debuts QUEEN OF THE UNIVERSE Season Two Trailer

This season, global superstar Mel B joins the returning judges, including platinum-selling recording artist, three-time Emmy®-winning producer and judge of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Michelle Visage; multi-Emmy and GRAMMY® nominee Vanessa Williams; and American drag superstar Trixie Mattel. Watch the video trailer now!

Interview: Theatre Life with Sarna Lapine

Today's subject Sarna Lapine is currently living her theatre life at the directing helm of Signature Theatre's upcoming production of Stephen Sondheim's gothic musical masterpiece Sweeney Todd. The production begins performances on May 16th and will play through July 9th in Signature Theatre's MAX space. It is the fourth time Signature has produced the show, making it Signature Theatre's most produced Sondheim musical overtaking Assassins and Into The Woods with three productions each.

Matt Baker's A RHAPSODY OF GERSHWIN to be Presented at Chelsea Table + Stage

CHELSEA TABLE + STAGE will present Matt Baker’s “A Rhapsody of Gershwin” on Tuesday, June 6, at 7:00 PM.

Video: First Look at Great Performances' 50 Year Celebration Hosted by Sutton Foster

PBS has shared a preview of Great Performances at 50: Broadway's Best, hosted by two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster. Watch a first look video from the concert, featuring Sara Bareilles, Chita Rivera, Rob McClure, James Monroe Iglehart, and more.

Photos: Stars Arrive on the Red Carpet at NEW YORK, NEW YORK! Opening Night!

NEW YORK, NEW YORK opened on Broadway, Wednesday, April 26th, 2023, at the St. James Theatre (246 West 44th Street). BroadwayWorld was there to capture stars, including the New York, New York creative team, as they arrive on the red carpet. Check out the photos here!

Video: On the Opening Night Red Carpet for NEW YORK, NEW YORK

New York, New York is open at last! Broadway celebrated opening night of its final musical of the season earlier this week and BroadwayWorld was there to celebrate. In this video, check out interviews with opening night guests including Chita Rivera, Joel Grey, Matthew Broderick, Robyn Hurder, David Hyde Pierce, Vanessa Williams, and more!

MCC Releases Recording of Joy Woods' 'I Could Have Danced All Night'

MCC Theater (Bernie Telsey and Will Cantler, Co-Artistic Directors; Blake West, Executive Director) have released a professional recording for the song “I Could Have Danced All Night” from the musical My Fair Lady, with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, is available to stream now on all music platforms.

Exclusive: The Company of NEW YORK, NEW YORK's Celebrates Opening Night!

New York, New York, the final musical of the 2022-23 Broadway season is open at last!  The show is now officially running at Broadway's St. James Theatre. We have photos from inside the opening night party!

Syracuse University Department of Drama to Present MELANCHOLY: A CHAMBER MUSICAL

Who says sadness isn't fun? Certainly not award-winning playwright Sarah Ruhl. The Syracuse University Department of Drama closes its 2022/2023 season with Ruhl's “Melancholy Play: A Chamber Musical,” directed by Daniella Caggiano, April 28 through May 7.

Lea Salonga, Norm Lewis, and Jessica Vosk To Perform At The White House State Dinner For South Korean President, Yoon Suk Yeol

Next week, a trio of Broadway stars will take the stage at The White House as part of a state dinner for Yoon Suk Yeol, the president of South Korea.

Matthew Scott to Release Debut Album THE JESUS YEAR: A LETTER FROM MY DAD

PS CLASSICS will release the debut album from actor-singer Matthew Scott, who has been lighting up the Broadway stage since making his debut in Jersey Boys.


Vanessa Williams has appeared on Broadway in 9 shows.

Vanessa Williams has appeared on London's West End in 1 shows.

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

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 .

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