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Vanessa Williams

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Vanessa Lynn 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.Williams was born in Millwood, New York, to Helen L. (Tinch) and Milton Augustine Williams, Jr., both music teachers. 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".Vanessa made her film debut in 1986 in Under the Gun and appeared in the films The Pick-up Artist, Another You and Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man. She starred opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in Eraser, opposite Laurence Fishburne and Andy Garcia in Hoodlum and the box office hit, Soul Food. She also starred in Dance with Me, Light It Up, Shaft, opposite Samuel L. Jackson and Johnson Family Vacation. She starred recently in the independent features, My Brother and And Then Came Love (aka "Somebody Like You"). On television, Vanessa starred in such movies and mini-series as Stompin' at the Savoy, The Kid 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 she executive-produced and starred in Lifetime's The Courage to Love for Lifetime and the VH1 Original Movie, A Diva's Christmas Carol.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, 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".She stars in ABC's critically-acclaimed hit series, Ugly Betty, 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.  See full bio on IMDb »

LATEST STORIES
  
Former Miss New York Contestant -- Decrowned For Going Topless ... 'I Deserve An Apology Too'

Former Miss New York Contestant
Decrowned For Going Topless 'I Deserve An Apology Too'

A former Miss New York contestant forced to give up her crown by the Miss America Organization after appearing topless in a film wants an apology similar to Vanessa Williams'.… READ MORE >

Vanessa Williams -- Apology Accepted ... Miss America Smooths Things Over

Vanessa Williams
Apology Accepted Miss America Smooths Things Over

Vanessa Williams and the Miss America Pageant just kissed and made up, more than 30 years after Williams was forced to hand over her crown. The show opened Sunday night with Miss America CEO Sam… READ MORE >

- 354 days ago
Miss America Pageant -- Meltdown Over Vanessa Williams Apology

Miss America Pageant
Meltdown Over Vanessa Williams Apology

The Miss America execs preparing for the live show on Sunday are in crisis mode over Vanessa Williams' appearance ... and it all has to do with the nude, girl-on-girl pics that caused her to get… READ MORE >

- 356 days ago
Vanessa Williams RIPPED By 'Tiaras' Mom Over Abortion

Vanessa Williams
RIPPED By 'Tiaras' Mom Over Abortion

Those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones ... especially when that house is an abortion clinic ... so says a "Toddlers & Tiaras" mom who's PISSED Vanessa Williams went off about pageant… READ MORE >

- 1583 days ago
Vanessa Williams -- I Was Molested as a Child

Vanessa Williams
I Was Molested as a Child

Vanessa Williams says she was sexually abused as a 10-year-old girl ... and believes the traumatizing experience caused her to become "highly sexualized" at an abnormally young age. Williams… READ MORE >

- 1598 days ago
Vanessa Williams -- Good Genes or Good Docs?

Vanessa Williams
Good Genes or Good Docs?

Vanessa Williams has got the right stuff.Here's the 26-year-old back in 1989 (left) -- and 23 years later, the 49-year-old at an event in L.A. (right).Despite being being forced to relinquish her… READ MORE >

- 1635 days ago
Kim Kardashian & Vanessa Williams -- Travel Buddies

Vanessa Williams & Kim Kardashian
Travel Buddies

Vanessa Williams and Kim Kardashian were at the Atlanta airport early this morning, hopping a flight back to Los Angeles after shooting scenes for Tyler Perry's movie, "The Marriage… READ MORE >

- 1755 days ago
Vanessa vs. America: Who'd You Rather?

Vanessa vs. America
Who'd You Rather?

Former "Ugly Betty" stars Vanessa Williams and America Ferrera reunited at the same event in West Hollywood.Question is ...  READ MORE >

- 2233 days ago
The Guy in 'Dance with Me': 'Memba Him?

The Guy
in 'Dance with Me' 'Memba Him?

In 1998, Puerto Rican singer Chayanne became famous to American audiences by starring opposite Vanessa L. Williams in the movie "Dance with Me." Guess what he looks like now! READ MORE >

- 2375 days ago
Vanessa Williams Is Over Nudie Beauty Scandals

Vanessa Williams
Is Over Nudie Beauty Scandals

Vanessa Williams was pressured into resigning her Miss America post in 1984 for the same thing Miss California just got away with -- gettin' nekkid on camera -- so we figured she'd be ticked… READ MORE >

- 2667 days ago

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