Marianne Williamson

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Marianne Williamson
Born Marianne Deborah Williamson[1]
(1952-07-08) July 8, 1952 (age 63)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Nationality American
Ethnicity Jewish
Education Bellaire High School
Alma mater Pomona College
Occupation New Age and self-help author
Children India
Parent(s) Sam Williamson
Sophie Ann Williamson

Marianne Deborah Williamson (born July 8, 1952)[2] is an American spiritual teacher, author and lecturer. She has published ten books, including four New York Times number one bestsellers. She is the founder of Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that serves homebound people with AIDS in the Los Angeles area, and the co-founder of The Peace Alliance, a grassroots campaign supporting legislation to establish a United States Department of Peace. She serves on the Board of Directors of the RESULTS organization, which works to end poverty in the United States and around the world. Williamson is also the force behind Sister Giant, a series of seminars and teaching sessions that provides women with the information and tools needed to be political candidates. Through these seminars,[3] she encourages women to run for office and align their politics with their spiritual values.

She has been a guest on television programs such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Charlie Rose and Real Time with Bill Maher. In December 2006, a Newsweek magazine poll named her one of the fifty most influential baby boomers. According to Time magazine, "Yoga, the Cabala and Marianne Williamson have been taken up by those seeking a relationship with God that is not strictly tethered to Christianity." Williamson bases her teaching and writing on a set of books called A Course in Miracles, a self-study program of spiritual psychotherapy, based on universal spiritual themes.

On October 20, 2013,[4] she announced her candidacy for California's 33rd Congressional District in the race to fill Representative Henry Waxman's seat after his retirement.

Personal life[edit]

Williamson was born in Houston, Texas, in 1952.[5][6][7] She is the youngest of three children of Samuel "Sam" Williamson, an immigration lawyer,[8][7] and his homemaker wife, Sophie Ann (Kaplan).[9][10] After graduating from Houston's Bellaire High School, Williamson spent two years studying theater and philosophy at Pomona College in Claremont, California[9] before leaving in her Junior year and continuing her education at the University of New Mexico and the University of Texas.

In 1979 Williamson returned to Houston, where she ran a metaphysical bookstore.[9] In 1987 she helped found the Los Angeles Center for Living, a support facility for those with life-threatening illnesses. Two years later she began Project Angel Food, to deliver meals to AIDS patients.[6][7] In 1990 Williamson had her only child, India. She refuses to identify or discuss the father of India, and instead chose to raise India alone as an “unwed Jewish mother.” [9][11][8][7]

Popular culture references[edit]

References to Williamson's book A Return To Love are made in the film Coach Carter (2005), the film Akeelah and the Bee (2006), and the novel Badulina: Return of the Queen, by Israeli author Gabi Nitzan.[citation needed]

A paragraph from A Return to Love has become popular as an inspirational quote:[citation needed]

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.[12]

The paragraph is frequently misattributed to Nelson Mandela but in fact was neither written nor quoted by the late South African President.

Published works[edit]


Williamson officiated at the California wedding of Larry Fortensky and Elizabeth Taylor.[9][8]

Her college roommate was film producer Lynda Obst.[9]

Williamson has sold a combined more than 3,000,000 books,[11] a canon which led New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich to label her a "self-help guru".[13]


  1. ^ "Person Details for Marianne Deborah Williamson, "Texas, Birth Index, 1903-1997" —". 
  2. ^ Knapp, Gwenn (2006). "StarBios Report for Marianne Williamson". MOTTASIA Inc. Retrieved 2006-07-12. 
  3. ^ Price, Dick and Kyle, Sharon (2012). "Sister Giant: A New Age for Politics". LA Progressive
  4. ^ "Not a Joke", Time Magazine, New York, 22 October 2013. Retrieved on 10 January 2014.
  5. ^ Munson, Zack. “God Help Us”, “Weekly Standard,” Vol. 19, No. 22. 2014 February 17
  6. ^ a b Merl, Jean. “Marianne Williamson's spiritual path into political realm”, “LA Times,” 2014 January 13
  7. ^ a b c d Appelo, Tim. “Love Prophet”, “Entertainment Weekly,” 1992 March 06
  8. ^ a b c Pristin, Terry. “COVER STORY : The Power, the Glory, the Glitz : Marianne Williamson, an ex-nightclub singer, has attracted many in Hollywood with her blend of new-time religion and self-help--and alienated more than a few.”, “LA Times,” 1992 February 16
  9. ^ a b c d e f Schindehette, Susan. “The Divine Miss W”, “People Magazine,” 1992 March. 09
  10. ^ "Jewish Herald-Voice". 
  11. ^ a b Aron, Hillel. “Marianne Williamson Aims to Defeat Henry Waxman, and Save Washington's Soul”, “LA Weekly,” 2014 January 16
  12. ^ Williamson, Marianne. A Return to Love.[page needed]
  13. ^ Leibovich, Mark. "The Real House Candidates of Beverly Hills", New York Times Magazine, 2014 April 24

External links[edit]