Montel Williams

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Montel Williams
Montel Williams by David Shankbone.jpg
Williams at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival.
Born Montel Brian Anthony Williams
(1956-07-03) July 3, 1956 (age 57)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Alma mater United States Naval Academy (B.S.)
Occupation Talk show host
Years active 1991 – present
Spouse(s) Rochele See (1982–89)
Grace Morley (1992–2000)
Tara Fowler (2007–present)
Website
www.montelwilliams.com

Montel Brian Anthony Williams (born July 3, 1956) is an American television personality, radio talk show host and actor. He is best known as host of the long-running The Montel Williams Show, and more recently as a spokesperson for the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA). Williams is also active with the non-profit MS Foundation, which he founded after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999.

Early life[edit]

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, on July 3, 1956, Williams attended Andover High School in neighboring Linthicum, Maryland, where he was elected president of his class in both his junior and senior years. He was a good student, athlete and musician, and active in county-wide student government issues in Annapolis, Maryland.[1] His father, Herman Williams, Jr., was a firefighter who in 1992 became Baltimore's first African-American Fire Chief.[citation needed] Montel has five siblings.[citation needed]

Career[edit]

Education and Military Service[edit]

Following high school, Williams joined the Marines, paving the way for him to become the first black Marine to attend the Naval Academy Prep School in Newport, Rhode Island, where he was one of only four[clarification needed] to graduate. Williams graduated from the school in 1976.[citation needed]

His successful completion led to his being appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy, from which he graduated in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science in engineering.[clarification needed] Williams also learned to speak Russian and Mandarin Chinese.[citation needed]

In 1989 he resigned his active-duty commission and started work as a full-time motivational speaker, work he'd started while still in the Navy.[citation needed] He also developed a nonprofit group called Reach for the American Dream, which delivered college scholarships to students unable to afford higher education.[citation needed]

The Montel Williams Show[edit]

Williams began The Montel Williams Show (syndicated by CBS Paramount Television) in 1991.[2] In 1996, Williams received a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host. Ratings for the show peaked during the 1996–1997 season, with 4.4 average rating. He was again nominated for Outstanding Talk Show Host in 2002, and the Montel Williams Show was nominated for Outstanding Talk Show in 2001 and 2002.

On January 30, 2008, Variety reported that CBS TV Distribution terminated The Montel Williams Show when key Fox-owned stations chose not to renew it for the 2008–09 season.[3] On May 16, 2008 the last episode of The Montel Williams Show aired.[4]

On November 10, 2010, Oprah Winfrey invited Williams, along with former talk show hosts Phil Donahue, Geraldo Rivera, Ricki Lake and Sally Jessy Raphael as guests on her show. This was the first time that she had fellow talkers appear together since their programs left the air.[5]

Acting[edit]

Williams has also guest-starred in episodic television and off-Broadway plays. Among other roles, he portrayed a Navy SEAL lieutenant in three episodes of the television series JAG. He also produced and starred in a short-lived television series called Matt Waters, which appeared on CBS in 1996. He played an ex-Navy SEAL turned inner-city high school teacher.[6] In 1997, he played Lt. Colonel Northrop a Nuclear Silo commander in the fictional movie The Peacekeeper.

Williams played the judge presiding over Erica Kane's (Susan Lucci) murder trial on the ABC soap opera All My Children in 2002. In 2003, he made a guest appearance on the soap as himself to promote an episode of his own show on which several AMC stars were scheduled to appear. In 2004, he hosted American Candidate, a political reality show on Showtime. Williams has also guest starred on Touched by an Angel and Guiding Light.

Williams also appeared in a Perry Mason movie in 1993 called "The Case Of The Telltale Talk Show Host". His character, Boomer Kelly, was a former football player that was appearing on a radio talk show whose owner was found murdered.

Production[edit]

Williams produced and narrated the Starline Films documentary film 4CHOSEN: The Documentary, which tells the story about the New Jersey Turnpike shooting in 1998, and the racial profiling case that followed the incident.[7][8]

Spokesperson[edit]

Williams is a national spokesman of the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA), a patient assistance program clearinghouse that helps low-income patients apply for free or reduced-priced prescription drugs. On November 30, 2007, while in Savannah, Georgia to promote PPA, he threatened reporters following an earlier interview at which Courtney Scott, a 17-year-old high school intern reporter for the Savannah Morning News, had asked him a question about whether restriction of pharmaceutical profits would discourage research and development of new drugs. Angered by the question, Williams subsequently terminated that videotaped interview; Williams later ran into Scott in his hotel and threatened to "blow [her] up".[9] Williams' public relations representatives later apologized for his hostile outburst in an issued statement, "I mistakenly thought the reporter and photographer in question were at the hotel to confront me about some earlier comments. I was wrong, and I apologize for my overreaction." [10] In 2010, Williams became chief spokesperson for the Poker Training Network,[11] now Card Geniuses, a MLM-based poker instruction and playing website. Montel currently is a spokesperson for Money Mutual, a payday lending service.[12]

Other work[edit]

On April 6, 2009, Williams began hosting a daily radio show, Montel Across America, on Air America Media.[13] On January 21, 2010, Air America ceased broadcasting, leaving Williams without a radio outlet.[14]

As of May 2009, he started hosting an infomercial for the Living Well Healthmaster, a blender product. It is presented under the title Living Well with Montel; the infomercial is structured similarly to his old talk show, featuring guests talking about their health problems, with the Healthmaster mixer being the solution. Later episodes of Living Well with Montel advertised a home pressure cooker and an identity theft protection service. In June 2010, Williams began doing infomercials for LifeLock, a security fraud company.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Williams has two daughters, Ashley Williams (b. 1984) and Maressa Williams (b. 1988), with his first wife, Rochele See. Williams married Grace Morley, a burlesque dancer on June 6, 1992.[16] They have a son, Montel Brian Hank Williams (b. 1993), and a daughter, Wyntergrace Williams (b. 1994). The couple divorced in 2000. In July 2006, Williams proposed to girlfriend Tara Fowler, an American Airlines flight attendant. They married before friends and family on a beach in Bermuda on October 6, 2007.[17] He is also featured in Making Music Magazine.

Williams participated in the 2007 World Series of Poker main event,[18] and planned to donate any potential winnings to US families affected by the Iraq war. He was eliminated in Day 2. During the event Williams also spoke out about the port security bill signed in 2006 that banned online gaming sites from accepting money transactions from the U.S.

Williams was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999.[19][20] In the following year, Williams created the MS Foundation, a non-profit organization with a focus on research and education.[21] Williams has openly stated that he uses medical cannabis, stating it helps to ease his Multiple Sclerosis-caused neuropathic pain.[22] Williams has become a vocal advocate of cannabis, supporting efforts to pass medical cannabis laws in states, as well as calling for full legalization.[23][24] He has also said that snowboarding is his "best therapy" for MS, commenting that “When I stand up I need first to hold on to something and think about the positioning of my legs. If I were to just start walking I would fall. I have to get my brain to find my legs and then I will usually take a test step, but I say something at the time to anyone who might be watching to distract from what I’m really doing. Then I’ll find places to grab as I walk and talk, sometimes even walking backwards because I have more control that way. People have no idea that I’m doing this. But when I’m snowboarding and my feet are strapped in, my brain seems to have a direct connection to my legs. After snowboarding it’s night and day for my balance and walking. There’s a real physical change before I get up to the mountain and when I come down. The benefits last for days.”[25]

Bibliography[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Official Montel Williams Site. Montelwilliams.com. Retrieved on 2013-01-07.
  2. ^ Ramsay, Carolyn (July 8, 1991). "The New Host on the Talk-Show Block : Television: Montel Williams, a former Navy man and lecturer to teens, wants to dethrone Oprah and Phil. His 13-week trial run begins today.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-07. 
  3. ^ Littleton, Cynthia. (2008-01-30) Variety – Montel Williams calls it quits. Variety.com. Retrieved on 2013-01-07.
  4. ^ Montel Williams – Bonus Videos. Montelshow.com. Retrieved on 2013-01-07.
  5. ^ from Donahue, Sally Jessy, Geraldo, Montel, Ricki: Talk show hosts—where are they now?. Oprah.com (2010-11-10). Retrieved on 2013-01-07.
  6. ^ Rosenberg, Howard (1996-01-03). "Next Up on Montel: Host Turns Actor". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-07. 
  7. ^ Starline Films. Starline Films. Retrieved on 2013-01-07.
  8. ^ 4Chosen: The Documentary (2008). imdb.com
  9. ^ Montel Threatens to 'Blow Up' Teen Reporter MSNBC.com, December 2, 2007
  10. ^ "Montel threatens to ‘blow up’ teen reporter – Entertainment – Celebrities – TODAY.com". MSNBC. 2007-02-12. Retrieved 2011-07-22. 
  11. ^ "Small Business Opportunity | Make Money with Poker". Pokertrainingnetwork.com. Retrieved 2011-07-22. 
  12. ^ Grindrod, John (April 16, 2013). "Payday Lenders: Safety Nets or Loan Sharks". The Lima News. Retrieved May 9, 2013. 
  13. ^ Montel Williams to Host Radio Show Yahoo News, March 13, 2009
  14. ^ Air America flies away for good The A.V. Club (2010-01-21).
  15. ^ Media Spots | Living Well | Montel. LifeLock (2010-07-28). Retrieved on 2013-01-07.
  16. ^ IMDB Biography for Montel Williams
  17. ^ Montel Williams Marries – Weddings, Montel Williams. People.com. Retrieved on 2013-01-07[dead link].
  18. ^ "Las Vegas Now". Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  19. ^ Lander, David L. (December 11, 2000). "Montel, There's More to the MS Battle". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-07. 
  20. ^ "Montel Williams diagnosed with multiple sclerosis". CNN. 
  21. ^ "The Montel Williams MS Foundation". Montelms.org. Retrieved 2011-07-22. 
  22. ^ "Montel Williams uses Medical Marijuana for Multiple Sclerosis". Blog.dopies.com. 2004-01-08. Retrieved 2011-07-22. 
  23. ^ Marimow, Ann (2011-01-20). "Montel Williams lends support to Maryland's medical marijuana effort". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 24, 2011. 
  24. ^ Kugel, Allison (2006-01-23). "Montel Williams on MS, Legalizing Marijuana and 15 Years of Making Television History". PR.com. Retrieved January 24, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Interview with Montel Williams". Ability Magazine. date unavailable. Retrieved 2012-04-02. 

External links[edit]