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Vanessa Williams

Vanessa Williams stars as Olivia Doran, the stylish, supportive, but enigmatic wife of Gavin Doran, the mysterious owner and landlord of The Drake (played by Terry O'Quinn), in the new ABC drama 666 Park Avenue.

Williams is one of the most respected and multi-faceted performers in entertainment today, having conquered the musical charts, Broadway, music videos, television and motion pictures. She has sold millions of albums worldwide and 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, as well as the Academy Award-winning single, Colors of the Wind, from Disney's Pocahontas. 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 1970s. Concord Records released her The Real Thing in June 2009, for which she received an NAACP nomination for Outstanding Jazz Artist.

In 1994 Williams 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 was last seen in Stephen Sondheim & James Lapine's Sondheim on Sondheim, an original Broadway musical that ran in Spring of 2010 at The Roundabout Theatre.

Williams made her film debut in 1986 in Under the Gun. She has starred in such features as Eraser, Hoodlum, Soul Food, Dance with Me, Light It Up, Shaft and Johnson Family Vacation. She starred recently in the independent features My Brother and Somebody Like You, and co-starred in Disney's feature film Hannah Montana: The Movie. Next up she plays in Tyler Perry's The Marriage Counselor, out in March of 2013.

On television Williams has starred in such movies and miniseries as Stompin' at the Savoy, The Boy Who Loved Christmas, The Jacksons: An American Dream, ABC's revival of Bye, Bye Birdie, Nothing Lasts Forever, The Odyssey, Don Quixote and Keep the Faith, Baby, and executive-produced and starred in Lifetime's The Courage to Love and the VH1 Original Movie, A Diva's Christmas Carol. She starred in ABC's critically-acclaimed series Ugly Betty, earning three Emmy nominations as the deliciously wicked Wilhelmina Slater, in addition to numerous individual and ensemble awards and nominations, including SAG, Golden Globes and NAACP Image Awards. In the Fall of 2010, Williams moved to Wisteria Lane as the newest resident on ABC's Desperate Housewives, where she stirred things up as Renee Perry, Lynette's former college friend and sorority sister. In March 2011, she won the NAACP Image Award for this role and helped carry the show to the end of its eight-year run in May 2012.

In April 2012, Williams and her mother, Helen, landed on the NY Times Best Seller list after publishing the memoir You Have No Idea: A Famous Daughter, Her No-Nonsense Mother, and How They Survived Pageants, Hollywood, Love, Loss (and Each Other). The book takes readers on a journey through Williams' life – told for the first time from her perspective and with the wisdom and frankness of her mother, the firecracker Miss Helen.

In 2007 Williams achieved a career pinnacle with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her accomplishments as a performer. In December 2010, the International Foreign Press Academy made her the recipient of the 2010 Mary Pickford Award For Outstanding Artistic Contribution to the Entertainment Industry. The award honors her international achievements and success in film, television, stage and recording over the past 28 years.

Williams' charitable endeavors are many and varied, embracing and supporting such organizations as Special Olympics and many others.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2012.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Vanessa Williams Facts

Birth NameVanessa Lynn Williams
OccupationMusician, Model, Actress
BirthdayMarch 12, 1963 (60)
BirthplaceTarrytown, New York, USA
Height5' 6" (1m68)  How tall is Vanessa Williams compared to you?

Selected Filmography

The Courage to Love
Dance With Me
A Diva's Christmas Carol
The Divorce
Soul Food
Raising Izzie
Continue » Find more details on the Vanessa Williams Movies page