Vanessa L. Williams
|Vanessa Lynn Williams|
Williams in 2004.
|Born||Vanessa Lynn Williams
March 18, 1963
Bronx, New York City, New York, U.S.
|Residence||Chappaqua, New York, U.S.|
|Education||Syracuse University (freshman and sophomore years 1981–83; granted a Musical Theater BFA in 2008 based on industry experience)|
|Known for||Wilhelmina Slater – Ugly Betty
Renee Perry – Desperate Housewives
Teri Joseph – Soul Food (film)
Miss America (First African American) – 1984
|Title||Miss America 1984
Miss New York 1983
Miss Syracuse 1983
|Spouse(s)||Ramon Hervey II (m. 1987–97)
Rick Fox (m. 1999–2004)
Jim Skrip (m. 2015)
|Relatives||Chris Williams (brother)
Jillian Hervey (daughter)
|Awards||7 NAACP Image Awards
3 Satellite Awards
Vanessa Lynn Williams (born March 18, 1963) is an American actress and singer. She is best known for her role as Teri Joseph in the 1997 feature film Soul Food, and the television characters Wilhelmina Slater in Ugly Betty, Renee Perry in Desperate Housewives, and Courtney Paige in The Good Wife. In 1983, Williams became the first African–American woman to win the title of Miss America (Miss America 1984). Williams was forced to resign a few weeks prior to the end of her reign on July 22, 1984 due to a scandal surrounding the publication of unauthorized nude photographs in Penthouse magazine. In 2015, 32 years after being crowned during the Miss America 2016 pageant (where she was serving as head judge), Miss America CEO Sam Haskell apologized to Williams for what was said to her during the events of 1984.
After her resignation as Miss America in 1984, Williams rebounded with a successful career in the entertainment industry. Her work as an actor on television and in film earned her multiple Emmy nominations and a Tony Award nomination. She likewise received a number of Grammy nominations for her work in the music industry, including hits such as "The Right Stuff," "Save the Best for Last," "Colors of the Wind," and "Oh How the Years Go By." Finally, Williams is the recipient of 7 NAACP Image Awards and 3 Satellite Awards.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Miss America
- 3 Music career
- 4 Acting career
- 5 Name conflict
- 6 Personal life
- 7 Television and film
- 8 Theatre
- 9 Awards and accolades
- 10 Memoir
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Williams was born in the Bronx, New York, the daughter of music teachers Helen and Milton. Her great-great grandfather was William A. Feilds, an African American legislator in the Tennessee House of Representatives. A DNA test revealed that her ancestry is 23% from Ghana, 17% from the British Isles (specifically English, Welsh and Irish), 15% from Cameroon, 12% Finnish, 11% Southern European, 7% Togo, 6% Benin, 5% Senegal and 4% Portuguese. Williams and her younger brother Chris, who is also an actor, grew up in Millwood, a predominantly white middle-class suburb of New York City. Prophetically, her parents put on her birth announcement: "Here she is: Miss America."
The child of music teachers, Williams grew up in a musical household, studying classical and jazz dance, french horn, piano, and violin. Although she was one of 12 students to receive the Presidential Scholarship for Drama to attend Carnegie Mellon University, Williams decided instead to attend Syracuse University on a different scholarship. Thus, in 1981, Williams joined Syracuse's College of Visual and Performing Arts, Department of Drama as a musical theater major. She stayed at Syracuse through her sophomore year, until she was crowned Miss America 1984 in September 1983.
Twenty-five years later in May 2008, Syracuse granted Williams a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. According to Syracuse News, "Williams earned the remaining credits for her degree through industry experience and her substantial performances on stage and screen." Williams also delivered the 2008 convocation address, telling Syracuse seniors to "treasure this moment. These days are irreplaceable and are the beginning of the rest of your life."
Williams initially gained recognition as the first African American woman to win the title of Miss America when she was crowned Miss America 1984 in September 1983. Several weeks before the end of her reign, however, a scandal arose when Penthouse magazine bought and published unauthorized nude photographs of Williams. Williams was pressured to relinquish her title, and was succeeded by the first runner-up, Miss New Jersey 1983, Suzette Charles. Thirty-two years later, in September, 2015 Williams served as head judge for the Miss America 2016 pageant. At the beginning of the event, Miss America CEO Sam Haskell made a public apology to Williams for what was said to her during the events of 1984.
A few years after resigning from the Miss America pageant, Williams debuted as a singer with the 1988 album The Right Stuff. The album contained the singles, The Right Stuff", which reached the #1 spot on Hot Dance Songs, and "Dreamin'which was #1 on R&B and No. 8 on Billboard Hot 100. Her second studio album, The Comfort Zone in 1991, topped the Billboard R&B Album Chart, and contained the Billboard Hot 100 number-one hit "Save the Best for Last." In addition, in 1995 she recorded "Colors of the Wind", which won the Oscar for Best Original Song (from the Disney animated feature film Pocahontas) and reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Williams' first television appearance was on a 1984 episode of The Love Boat. She subsequently made guest appearances on a number of shows, including T.J. Hooker, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Saturday Night Live, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, LateLine, MADtv, Ally McBeal and Boomtown. Her appearances in television movies and miniseries include Perry Mason: The Case of the Silenced Singer and The Jacksons: An American Dream as Suzanne de Passe. In 1995, Williams starred as Rose Alvarez in a television adaptation of the 1960 Broadway musical Bye Bye Birdie. She played the nymph Calypso in the 1997 Hallmark Entertainment miniseries The Odyssey, starring Armand Assante. She appeared as Ebony Scrooge the Ebenezer Scrooge character in an update of Charles Dickens' story A Christmas Carol called A Diva's Christmas Carol. In 2001, Williams starred in the Lifetime cable movie about the life of Henriette DeLille, The Courage to Love. In 2003, Williams read the narrative of Tempie Herndon Durham from the WPA slave narratives in the HBO documentary Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives. In early 2006 she starred in the short-lived UPN drama South Beach. She also provides the voice for the main character in the PBS Kids version of Mama Mirabelle's Home Movies. In 2012, she starred in the ABC supernatural drama series 666 Park Avenue.
In 2006, Williams received considerable media attention for her comic/villainess role as former model/magazine creative director turned editor-in-chief Wilhelmina Slater in the ABC comedy series Ugly Betty. Her performance on the series resulted in a nomination for outstanding supporting actress at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards and in 2008 and 2009, she was nominated in the outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series category for Ugly Betty. Williams next joined the cast of Desperate Housewives for its seventh season where she portrayed Renee Perry, an old college friend/rival of Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman). In 2015, Williams joined the seventh season of The Good Wife as self-made businesswoman Courtney Paige and the love interest for Alan Cumming's character, Eli Gold. She based her interpretation of Paige on American business woman, Mellody Hobson, whom she studied through Hobson's TED talk's.
Feature film roles
Williams has appeared in a number of films including the 1997 feature film, Soul Food, for which she won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture. In 2007, she starred in the independent film My Brother, for which she won Best Actress honors at the Harlem International Film Festival, the African-American Women in Cinema Film Festival, and at the Santa Barbara African Heritage Film Festival. She also notably co-starred with Arnold Schwarzenegger in Eraser,Samuel L. Jackson in the 2000 remake of Shaft, the characters from Sesame Street in The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland (as the Queen of Trash), and with Miley Cyrus in Hannah Montana: The Movie.
Williams broadened her ascendant music career into a theatrical role when she was cast in the Broadway production of Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1994. She was also featured in the Tony-nominated and Drama Desk Award nominated performance as the Witch in Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods in a revival of the show in 2002, which included songs revised for her.
Other notable theatrical roles include her performances in Carmen Jones at the Kennedy Center, the off-Broadway productions of One Man Band and Checkmates, and the New York City Center's Encores! Great American Musicals in Concert, St. Louis Woman. In 2010, Williams starred in a new Broadway musical revue entitled Sondheim on Sondheim, a look at Stephen Sondheim through his music, film and videotaped interviews. Sondheim ran from March 19 to June 13 at Studio 54 in New York City. Williams also starred as Jessie Mae Watts in the Horton Foote play The Trip to Bountiful,based on the 1985 movie of the same name. Williams was also a special guest star in the Broadway musical After Midnight.
Other media appearances
Williams has appeared in advertisements for RadioShack. She is a spokesmodel for Proactiv Solution, and was the first African-American spokesmodel for L'Oréal cosmetics in the late 1990s. Her other media appearances include endorsing Crest Rejuvenating Effects Toothpaste, endorsing Disneyland and Universal Studios in a VisitCalifornia advertisement for British and Irish television in 2008, and hosting the 6th Annual 2008 TV Land Awards show.
She appeared on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in 2000 as a contestant, and once again on August 10, 2009, as a celebrity guest during the show's 10th anniversary prime-time special editions, winning $50,000 for her charity. In a commercial that began running during Super Bowl XLVI in 2012, Williams voiced the new character Ms. Brown, a brown M&M.
Williams is most often referenced and publicly recognized simply as "Vanessa Williams". There is, however, occasional confusion with similarly named actress Vanessa A. Williams, who is just two months younger. It has been reported that Williams first became aware of Vanessa A. in the 1980s when her New York University registrar told her that another, similarly aged student with the same name and from the same state had applied. When Williams appeared as Miss America in a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Vanessa A. accidentally received her check for the appearance, which she returned.
In the area of acting, the two ran into name conflict when Screen Actors Guild rules prohibited duplicate stage naming. Vanessa A. had registered the name "Vanessa Williams" first, so as a compromise, Williams was occasionally credited as "Vanessa L. Williams" in acting credits. To compound the confusion, both actresses starred in versions of the drama Soul Food (Williams in the film version, and Vanessa A. in its TV series adaptation). The Screen Actors Guild eventually took the issue to arbitration and decided that both actresses could use the professional name "Vanessa Williams".
Williams has been married three times. She married her first husband, Ramon Hervey II, in 1987 just a few years after giving up her crown, and gave birth to her first child at this time (Hervey, who is ten years older than Williams, is a public relations specialist who was hired to resuscitate her career after her resignation as Miss America in July 1984). She was the major breadwinner during the marriage which lasted for 10 years until 1997. Hervey also ceased to be her manager during the marriage. After the divorce, Williams expressed respect for him. They have three children: Melanie, Jillian Hervey, and Devin. Jillian, following in her mother's footsteps, released her first single with the duo Lion Babe in 2012.
Two years later in 1999, Williams married NBA basketball player Rick Fox. They had a daughter in May 2000. After The National Enquirer published pictures of Fox kissing and hugging another woman in mid-2004, Fox's representative announced that the couple had been "headed toward divorce" for over a year. A few months later in August 2004, Fox filed for divorce from Williams. Their split was amicable, and they later worked together on Ugly Betty.
She met her third husband, Jim Skrip, ten years later. Williams married Skrip, a businessman, from Buffalo, New York, on July 4, 2015. She announced her engagement during a 2014 taping of The Queen Latifah Show.
Williams and her mother, Helen, co-authored a memoir entitled You Have No Idea, published in April 2012. In the book, Williams discusses her childhood, rise to fame, and personal struggles, including the fact that she was sexually molested by a woman when she was 10 years old. She also spoke candidly about having an abortion while she was in high school. Williams is a supporter of gay rights and same sex marriage and in 2011, she participated in a HRC campaign entitled “New Yorkers for Marriage Equality". She is also a supporter of The San Miquel Academy of Newburgh, a school for boys at risk.
Television and film
|1984||Partners in Crime||Roselle Robins||"Celebrity" (Season 1, Episode 1)|
|1986||The Redd Foxx Show||Jessica||"The Prodigal Son" (Season 1, Episode 8)|
|T.J. Hooker||Pat Williamson||"Partners in Death" (Season 5, Episode 14)|
|The Love Boat||Pearl||"My Stepmother, Myself/Almost Roommates/Cornerback Sneak" (Season 9, Episode 24)|
|1989||Full Exposure: The Sex Tapes Scandal||Valantine||TV movie|
|1990||Kid Who Loved Christmas, TheThe Kid Who Loved Christmas||Lynette||TV movie|
|Perry Mason and the Case of the Silenced Singer||Terri Knight||TV movie|
|1992||Jacksons - An American Dream, TheThe Jacksons - An American Dream||Suzanne de Passe||TV movie|
|Stompin' at the Savoy||Pauline||TV movie|
|The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air||Danny Mitchell||"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way Home from the Forum" (Season 3, Episode 11)|
|1995||Nothing Lasts Forever||Dr. Kathy "Kat" Hunter||TV movie|
|Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child||Beauty (voice)||"Beauty and the Beast" (Season 1, Episode 11)|
|Bye Bye Birdie||Rose Alvarez||TV movie|
|1996||Star Trek: Deep Space Nine||Arandis||"Let He Who Is Without Sin..." (Season 5, Episode 7)|
|1997||Odyssey, TheThe Odyssey||Calypso||Main role|
|1998||Futuresport||Alex Torres||TV movie|
|1999||L.A. Doctors||Dr. Leanne Barrows||"O Captain, My Captain" (Season 1, Episode 21)
"Que Sera, Sarah" (Season 1, Episode 22)
Every Picture Tells a Story" (Season 1, Episode 23)
|2000||The Courage to Love||Henriette DeLille||TV movie|
|Don Quixote||Dulcinea/Aldonza||TV movie|
|A Diva's Christmas Carol||Ebony Scrooge||TV movie|
|2001||WW3||M.J. Blake||TV movie|
|Santa Baby||Alicia (voice)||TV movie|
|2002||Keep the Faith, Baby||Hazel Scott||TV movie|
|Ally McBeal||Sheila Hunt||"Another One Bites the Dust" (Season 5, Episode 19)|
|The Proud Family||Debra (voice)||"Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thingy, Baby" (Season 2, Episode 3)|
|2003||Boomtown||Detective Katherine Pierce||"The Love of Money" (Season 2, Episode 1)
"Inadmissible" (Season 2, Episode 2)
"Wannabe" (Season 2, Episode 3)
"The Hole-in-the-Wall Gang" (Season 2, Episode 4)
"Haystack" (Season 2, Episode 5)
"The Big Picture" 9 (Season 2, Episode 6)
|2006||South Beach||Elizabeth Bauer||Series Regular, 8 episodes|
|2006–10||Ugly Betty||Wilhelmina Slater||Series Regular, 85 episodes
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (2007, 2008)
Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (2007)
Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Villain
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (2007, 2008, 2009)
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (2006, 2009)
Nominated – Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Villain
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series (2007)
|2007–08||Mama Mirabelle's Home Movies||Mama Mirabelle||Animated; Voice; 23 episodes|
|2010–12||Desperate Housewives||Renee Perry||Main Role, Series Regular (Seasons 7–8); 46 episodes
Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (2011)
|2012–13||666 Park Avenue||Olivia Doran||Series Regular|
|2012||Phineas and Ferb||Stewardess||Animated; voice; Where's Perry (Part 1)|
|2014||The Haunting of...||Herself||Episode: "Vanessa Williams" (Lifetime Movie Network)|
|2014||The Trip to Bountiful||Jessie Mae Watts||TV movie based on the 2013 Broadway Revival|
|2015||The Mindy Project||Dr. Suzanne Phillips||Series 3, Episode 17, Danny Castellano Is My Nutritionist|
|2015||Royal Pains||Olympia Houston||2 episodes|
|2015||Fantasy Life||Terry||TV movie (not yet released)|
|2015||The Good Wife||Courtney Paige||Season 7-Present|
|2016||Galaxy World of Alisa||Producer (voice)||American English dub, 2 episodes|
|1987||Pick-up Artist, TheThe Pick-up Artist||Rae, Girl with Dog|
|1988||Under the Gun||Samantha Richards|
|1991||Another You||Gloria||Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor's final film pairing.|
|Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man||Lulu Daniels|
|1996||Eraser||Dr. Lee Cullen||Nominated — Blockbuster Entertainment Award|
|Soul Food (Feature Film)||Teri Joseph||Image Award
Nominated — American Black Film Festival Black Film Award
|1998||Dance with Me||Ruby Sinclair||Nominated — ALMA Award|
|1999||Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, TheThe Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland||Queen of Trash|
|Light It Up||Detective Audrey McDonald||Nominated – Image Award|
|2000||Shaft||Carmen Vasquez||Nominated – Image Award|
|2004||Johnson Family Vacation||Dorothy Johnson||Nominated — BET Award for Comedy|
|2007||My Brother||L'Tisha Morton||Best Actress honors at the Harlem International Film Festival, the African-American Women in Cinema Film Festival and at the Santa Barbara African Heritage Film Festival|
|And Then Came Love||Julie Davidson|
|2009||Hannah Montana: The Movie||Vita (Hannah's Agent)|
|2011||Delhi Safari||Beggum the Leopard||voice: English version|
|2012||He's Way More Famous Than You||Vanessa Williams|
|2013||Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor||Janice|
Host or judge
|1994||The Essence Awards||Host|
|Carnegie Hall Salutes the Jazz Masters: Verve Records at 50||Host|
|1998||29th NAACP Image Awards||Host|
|2002||It's Black Entertainment||Host|
|2008||The 6th Annual TV Land Awards||Host|
|2009||The 36th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards||Host|
|Dreams Come True: A Celebration of Disney Animation||Host|
|2015||Miss America 2016||Head Judge|
|1985||One Man Band||One of "The Women"|
|1994–95||Kiss of the Spider Woman||Aurora (replacement)|
|1998||St. Louis Woman (revival)||Della Green|
|2002||Carmen Jones (Kennedy Center Special Performance)||Carmen Jones|
|Into the Woods||Witch|
|2010||Sondheim on Sondheim||--|
|2013||The Trip to Bountiful||Jessie Mae Watts|
Awards and accolades
Grammy Awards history
Williams has received eleven Grammy nominations without a win.
|1989||Best New Artist||Vanessa L. Williams||Nominated|
|Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||"The Right Stuff"||Nominated|
|1990||Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||"Dreamin'"||Nominated|
|1992||Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||"Runnin' Back to You"||Nominated|
|1993||Record of the Year||"Save the Best for Last"||Nominated|
|Best Female Pop Vocal Performance||"Save the Best for Last"||Nominated|
|Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||"The Comfort Zone"||Nominated|
|Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals||"Love Is"||Nominated|
|1995||Best Female Pop Vocal Performance||"Colors of the Wind"||Nominated|
|Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||"The Way That You Love"||Nominated|
|1997||Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album||Star Bright||Nominated|
- Williams has featured on three albums nominated for the Grammy for Best Musical Show Album, these nominations being credited to the respective producers, engineers and composers and not to the artists.
- "Save the Best for Last" was also nominated for Song of the Year. As this award only goes to the songwriters, Williams was not nominated. The composers were Wendy Waldman, Jon Lind and Phil Galdstone.
- Williams' recording of "You Can't Run" was nominated for the Grammy for Best R&B Song. As this is a songwriters award the nomination went to the song's composer, Babyface.
Additional awards and nominations
|Year||Award body||Category||Awarded for||Result|
|1983||Miss America Organization||Miss America 1984||N/A||Won|
|1989||NAACP Image Award||Outstanding New Artist||"The Right Stuff"||Won|
|1993||American Music Award||Favorite Female Artist – Pop / Rock||"The Comfort Zone"||Nominated|
|Favorite Female Artist – Soul / R&B||"The Comfort Zone"||Nominated|
|Favorite Album – Adult Contemporary||"The Comfort Zone"||Nominated|
|MTV Video Music Awards||Best Female Video||"Save the Best for Last"||Nominated|
|Best Cinematography||"Runnin' Back to You"||Nominated|
|Billboard Music Award||No. 1 Adult Contemporary Single||"Love Is"||Won|
|Playboy Magazine||Best Female R&B Vocalist.||"The Comfort Zone"||Won|
|1994||Theatre World Award||Best Debut Performance||"Kiss of the Spider Woman"||Won|
|NAACP Image Award||Outstanding Female Artist||"The Sweetest Days"||Won|
|Soul Train Music Award||Best R&B Single by Group, Band or Duo||"Love Is"||Nominated|
|1996||Soul Train Music Award||"Lady of Soul" Award||Career Achievement||Won|
|NAACP Image Award||Outstanding Female Artist||"Where Do We Go From Here"||Nominated|
|Blockbuster Entertainment Award||Favorite Actress – Action||Eraser||Nominated|
|Lena Horne award||For Outstanding Artistic Contribution to the Entertainment||Won|
|1997||NAACP Image Award||Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture||Soul Food||Won|
|Outstanding Actress in Mini-Series||The Odyssey||Nominated|
|Online Television Academy Awards||Best Guest Actress – Syndicated Series||Star Trek: Deep Space Nine||Nominated|
|Black Film Awards||Best Actress – Motion Picture||Soul Food||Nominated|
|1999||ALMA Award||Best Song from A Movie||"You Are My Home"||Nominated|
|2000||Blockbuster Entertainment Award||Favorite Actress – Action||Shaft||Nominated|
|NAACP Image Award||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture||Light It Up||Nominated|
|Drama League Award||Most Distinguished Performance||Into the Woods||Nominated|
|2002||Satellite Awards||Best Actress – Miniseries or Movie||Keep the Faith, Baby||Won|
|NAACP Image Award||Outstanding Actress in Mini-Series||Nominated|
|Black Reel Awards||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Tony Award||Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical||Into the Woods||Nominated|
|2004||BET Comedy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Box Office Movie||Johnson Family Vacation||Nominated|
|2006||Satellite Awards||Best Supporting Actress in a Series||Ugly Betty||Nominated|
|2007||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Best Performance – Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|NAACP Image Award||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Won|
|Emmy Award||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV Villain||Won|
|Hollywood Walk of Fame||Recording||Career Achievement||Won|
|2008||Human Rights Campaign||"Ally for Equality" Award||Humanitarian Work||Won|
|Jacobi Children's Arts Award||"Humanitarian/Charitable"||Won|
|Satellite Awards||Best Supporting Actress in a Series||Ugly Betty||Won|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Best Performance – Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Best Performance – Lead Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|NAACP Image Award||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Won|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV Villain||Nominated|
|Emmy Award||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2009||NAACP Image Award||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Daytime Emmy Award||Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program||Mama Mirabelle's Home Movies||Nominated|
|Emmy Award||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Ugly Betty||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Supporting Actress in a Series||Nominated|
|2010||NAACP Image Award||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Outstanding Jazz Album||The Real Thing||Nominated|
|Mary Pickford Award||For Outstanding Artistic Contribution to the Entertainment Industry||Won|
|2011||NAACP Image Award||Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series||Desperate Housewives||Won|
|Satellite Awards||Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series, Mini Series or TV Movie||Desperate Housewives||Won|
|2012||NAACP Image Award||Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series||Desperate Housewives||Nominated|
|Ride of Fame||N/A||Life's Work||Won|
|2013||NAACP Image Award||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Desperate Housewives||Won|
|2014||NAACP Image Award||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series||666 Park Avenue||Nominated|
|2015||NAACP Image Award||Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special||The Trip To Bountiful (2014 television film)||Nominated|
- The song "Colors of the Wind", performed by Vanessa Williams at the end of the film Pocahontas, won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. This award goes to the songs composers (Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz). The song was performed in the film by Judy Kuhn as the singing voice of the title character.
- Wiliams, Vanessa and Helen Williams. You Have No Idea: A Famous Daughter, Her No-nonsense Mother, and How They Survived Pageants, Holly wood, Love, Loss (and Each Other). New York: Gotham/Penguin Group, 2012.
- List of number-one hits (United States)
- List of artists who reached number one on the Hot 100 (U.S.)
- List of number-one dance hits (United States)
- List of artists who reached number one on the U.S. Dance chart
- "Vanessa Williams Biography". biography.com. Retrieved 2015-09-15.
- "African American Legislators in 19th Century Tennessee: WILLIAM ALEXANDER FEILDS". State of Tennessee. Retrieved 2015-09-19.
- "Actress Vanessa Williams Explains How DNA Powers Her Family Tree". ancestry.com. May 14, 2013.
- Telegraph Reporters (2015-09-14). "Miss America apologises to Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty star". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2015-09-15.
- "Vanessa Williams Biography". billboard.com. Retrieved 2015-09-15.
- Blust, Erica (2008-05-05). "Vanessa Williams to deliver 2008 convocation address for College of Visual and Performing Arts, receive BFA degree". Syracuse University. Retrieved 2015-09-15.
- AP (2008-05-14). "Vanessa Williams To Graduate From College This Weekend". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-09-15.
- Johnson, Melinda (2008-05-10). "Vanessa Williams gets Syracuse University degree". syracuse.com. Retrieved 2015-09-15.
- Singleton, Don (1983-09-18). "Vanessa Williams is crowned the first African-American Miss America in 1983". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2015-09-14.
- "Vanessa Williams's ancestry revealed: One great great grandfather escaped slavery... the other was a politician who left 'a legacy more precious than gold'". Daily Mail (London). February 6, 2011.
'As an African American growing up here in the States, there are a lot of records that we don't have.'
- "A New York Debut". People. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
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- "This Day in History – Sep 17, 1983: Vanessa Williams becomes first black Miss America". History.com. Retrieved November 28, 2010.
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- "South Beach". Retrieved 3 October 2012.
- Nellie Andreeva (March 9, 2012). "‘Desperate Housewives’ Vanessa Williams to Co-Star in ABC Pilot ’666 Park Avenue’". Deadline.com. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
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- "Desperate Housewives" Scoop: Vanessa L. Williams Moving to Wisteria Lane!, Entertainment Weekly, May 18, 2010.
- "Vanessa Williams on Miss America apology, "The Good Wife"". ‘’CBS This Morning’’. 2015-11-12. Retrieved 2015-11-13.
- "Vanessa Williams Brings MY BROTHER to Big Screen". Yahoo! Voices. March 14, 2007. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
- Hruska, Bronwen (June 19, 1996). "The `Eraser' Effect Singer Vanessa Williams Hopes The New Schwarzenegger Film Will Wipe Away Doubts About Her Acting - As Well As Any Lingering Memories Of Her Beauty-queen Fiasco.". Philly.com. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
- Production On 'Hannah Montana: The Movie' Is Underway. WJXT Jacksonville[dead link]
- Hershenson, Roberta (October 2, 1994). "Vanessa Williams, a Homespun 'Spider Woman'". New York Times. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
- Weinraub, Bernard (February 24, 2002). "Spring Theater; Back to the Woods, With Darker Lyrics And a Dancing Cow". The New York Times. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
- "Vanessa Williams Sings Carmen Jones Nov. 15-17 at Kennedy Center". 15 November 2002. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
- Portantiere, Michael. "Vanessa Williams Announced for Title Role in Carmen Jones at Kennedy Center". Retrieved October 3, 2012.
- "St Louis Woman Original New York Cast 21 Tracks". Retrieved 3 October 2012.
- Jones, Kenneth."Sondheim on Sondheim, a New Musical Reflection of a Life in Art, Begins on Broadway". Playbill, March 19, 2010.
- "The Trip To Bountiful". Roundabout Theatre Company, April 5, 2013.
- Diamond Grant."Vanessa Williams Steps Into 'After Midnight' on Deck Circle". BroadwayTour.net, February 20, 2014.
- "What Do Vanessa Williams, Willie Nelson, Hilary Duff, Amy Grant, and RadioShack Have in Common?". radio shack.com. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vanessa L. Williams.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Vanessa L. Williams|
- Official website
- Vanessa Williams at the Internet Movie Database
- Vanessa Williams at AllMusic
- Vanessa Williams at the Internet Broadway Database
|Awards and achievements|
|Miss New York