Edward Bennett Williams

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Edward Bennett Williams
Edward Bennett Williams.jpg
Born (1920-05-31)May 31, 1920
Hartford, Connecticut
Died August 13, 1988(1988-08-13) (aged 68)
Nationality United States
Alma mater College of the Holy Cross
Georgetown University Law Center
Occupation Lawyer
Employer Williams & Connolly

Edward Bennett Williams (May 31, 1920 – August 13, 1988) was a Washington, D.C. trial attorney who founded the law firm of Williams & Connolly and owned several professional sports teams. He was born in Hartford, Connecticut and studied law at Georgetown University.

Career[edit]

Career in law[edit]

He represented many high profile clients, including Sam Giancana, John Hinckley, Jr., Frank Sinatra, financier Robert Vesco, Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner, spy Igor Melekh, Jimmy Hoffa, organized crime figure Frank Costello, U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, corporate raider Victor Posner, Michael Milken, the Washington Post newspaper and the Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

Williams, who was a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and Georgetown University Law Center, successfully defended – among others – Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., the Teamsters Union, John Connally and, as one of his last clients, Michael Milken.

Two of Williams' closest friends were the Washington Post's Art Buchwald and Ben Bradlee. His debating team partner at Holy Cross was Robert Maheu, Howard Hughes's right-hand man for many years.

Before establishing Williams & Connolly in 1967 with his friend and student Paul Connolly, he worked at the prominent, D.C.-based law firm of Hogan & Hartson from 1945 to 1949.[1]

Professional sports[edit]

Williams bought a stake in the Washington Redskins from the estate of founding owner George Preston Marshall in the 1960s. He along with Jack Kent Cooke owned the Redskins until 1985 when Williams sold his share in the team to Cooke. Williams bought the Baltimore Orioles in 1980. At the same time, he bought back the shares that had been sold to the public in 1935 while the team was still in St. Louis as the Browns, making the franchise privately held once again.

When he bought the Orioles, many feared he would move the team to Washington D.C., and these fears increased with the departure of the Colts. However, Williams never moved the team, and under his ownership, the team won its most recent World Series, in 1983. More importantly in the long term, Williams signed a new long term lease with Baltimore that would pay for a new stadium, which would become Oriole Park at Camden Yards. He would not live to see the new ballpark.

Real estate investments[edit]

Among Williams' many real estate holdings was the Jefferson Hotel, a 98 room luxury hotel located near the White House and favored by many sport and political figures in the 1980s/1990s.

Death/funeral[edit]

After an 11-year battle, Williams succumbed to cancer at age 68. His funeral was attended by most of Washington's power elite, including then-Vice President George H. W. Bush. He is buried in St. Gabriel Cemetery in Potomac, Maryland.

Honors[edit]

The Edward Bennett Williams Law Library at Georgetown University Law Center is named in his honor. The senior apartments residence hall at the College of the Holy Cross is also named in his honor.

Family[edit]

Edward Bennett Williams married Dorothy Guider in 1949. They had three children: Joseph, Ellen, and Bennett. Guider died in 1959. In June 1960, Williams married Agnes Neill and had four children: Edward, Dana, Anthony, and Kimberly. Agnes Neill Williams worked as an attorney for the Williams & Connolly law firm. She now lives in Potomac, Maryland and serves on the Board of Advisors of the Georgetown Center for Liturgy.

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