Dootsie Williams

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Dootsie Williams
Dootsie Williams.jpg
Background information
Birth nameWalter D. Williams Jr.
Born(1911-06-17)June 17, 1911
Mobile, Alabama, United States
DiedAugust 21, 1991(1991-08-21) (aged 80)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
GenresComedy, doo-wop, gospel
Occupation(s)Record executive, record producer, band leader
Years active1940s–1975
LabelsDooto, Dootone

Walter D. Williams, Jr. (June 17, 1911–August 21, 1991),[1] known as Dootsie Williams, was an American record producer and record label owner who released early records by Redd Foxx and The Penguins.

Life and career[edit]

Williams was born in Mobile, Alabama, in 1911, and by 1918 had moved with his family to Los Angeles.[1] He was a leader of the Harlem Dukes band in the 1940s. While performing at gigs, he came up with the idea of recording other artists.[2]

In 1949, Williams founded the Blue Records label. Two years later he changed the name to Dootone. One of the first artists he recorded on Dootone was a violinist named Johnny Creach, who years later would become popular as Papa John Creach.[3] In 1954, he recorded a local group called The Penguins, who would have a huge hit with "Earth Angel".[3]

While the label would record a wide variety of music, it would be best known for a series of comedy recordings by Redd Foxx.[4] Williams saw the comedian perform at the Brass Rail, a local Los Angeles nightclub, and signed Foxx to a recording contract. Laff of the Party, the first of many albums that Foxx recorded for Williams, became a cult favorite and helped establish him as a national star.[5]

Williams died in Los Angeles on August 21, 1991.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues - A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers. pp. 318–319. ISBN 978-0313344237.
  2. ^ Cashmore, Ernest (1997). The black culture industry. London and New York, New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-12082-9.
  3. ^ a b Dawson, Jim. "The Penguins and 'Earth Angel'". The Doo-Wop Society of Southern California. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  4. ^ Edwards, Dave; Callahan, Mike; Eyries, Patrice (13 Jan 2010). "Dootone/Dooto Album Discography". Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  5. ^ Goodman, Mark (October 28, 1991). "Redd Foxx exits, laughing". People. 36 (16). Retrieved October 11, 2010.

External links[edit]