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Vanessa A. Williams
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Vanessa A. Williams

A native of the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York, Vanessa Williams was just 11 when she began her theatrical training with the New York City Opera Children's Chorus. She went on to study at the High School for the Performing Arts in New York, during which time she began to perform in commercials and on stage.

Williams' first big break came when she won a recurring role as 'Jade Marsh' on The Cosby Show. She was so well received that she was later brought back to the show in the role of Cheryl Lovejoy. She performed in the New York stage production Death and the King's Horseman at the Lincoln Center Theater, and on Broadway in the South African musical Sarafina! and Langston Hughes' Mule Bone. She also performed the memorable role of Keisha in the feature film New Jack City.

On her first trip to Los Angeles in the fall of 1991, Williams quickly landed a supporting role in the gothic horror film Candyman, which became a box office hit. Then, in 1992, she landed a starring role as Rhonda Blair in Fox Network's hit series Melrose Place.

Her other television credits include a regular role on the critically acclaimed Steven Bochco series Murder One and a recurring role on the award-winning series Chicago Hope, both of which earned her NAACP Image Award nominations. She had starring roles in the BET original movies Incognito and Playing With Fire, and guest-starring roles in SHOWTIME's Total Recall 2070, as well as The Pretender, NYPD Blue, The Steve Harvey Show, Malcolm and Eddie, Livin' Single and Between Brothers. In addition, she also voiced a series regular role on the syndicated animation series Heavy Gear.

Williams is soon to be seen in the Showtime Original Picture For All Ages titled Our America which premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. She also had a cameo role in the upcoming feature film Like Mike starring Morris Chestnut and Lil' Bow Wow. Additional credits include Spike Lee's feature film D.R.O.P. Squad and Edmonds Entertainment's Punks, in which she starred opposite her SOUL FOOD co-star Rockmond Dunbar. The film premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. She also appeared in Albert Brooks' Mother and a South African feature entitled Letting Go.

She received accolades for her lead performance in the Acapulco Black Film Festival award-winning short film Breakdown and was nominated for her third NAACP Image Award for her role as 'Maxine' in SHOWTIME's SOUL FOOD. Williams is also serving an unprecedented second term as the celebrity spokesperson for the March of Dimes

National Ambassador Program. Williams recently completed a book of poetry and short stories entitled Shine.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2003.

Vanessa A. Williams Facts

BirthdayMay 12, 1963 (58)
BirthplaceBrooklyn, New York, USA

Selected Filmography

Not available.