Vanessa L. Williams

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This article is about the former Miss America and performer. For other women with similar names, see Vanessa Williams.
Vanessa Lynn Williams
Williams in 2004.
Born Vanessa Lynn Williams
(1963-03-18) March 18, 1963 (age 52)
Bronx, New York City, New York, U.S.[1]
Residence Chappaqua, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Ethnicity African American
Education Syracuse University (freshman and sophomore years 1981–83; granted a Musical Theater BFA in 2008 based on industry experience)
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 1982–present
Known for Wilhelmina SlaterUgly Betty
Renee PerryDesperate Housewives
Teri JosephSoul Food (film)
Miss America (First African American) – 1984
Title Miss America 1984
Miss New York 1983
Miss Syracuse 1983
Religion Catholic
Spouse(s) Ramon Hervey II (m. 1987–97)
Rick Fox (m. 1999–2004)
Jim Skrip (m. 2015)
Children 4
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.

Early life[edit]

Williams was born in the Bronx, New York, the daughter of music teachers Helen and Milton.[1] Her great-great grandfather was William A. Feilds, an African American legislator in the Tennessee House of Representatives.[2] 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.[3] 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."[4]


The child of music teachers, Williams grew up in a musical household, studying classical and jazz dance, french horn, piano, and violin.[1] 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[1] on a different scholarship.[5] Thus, in 1981, Williams joined Syracuse's College of Visual and Performing Arts, Department of Drama as a musical theater major.[5][6] She stayed at Syracuse through her sophomore year, until she was crowned Miss America 1984 in September 1983.[6]

Twenty-five years later in May 2008, Syracuse granted Williams a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.[7] According to Syracuse News, "Williams earned the remaining credits for her degree through industry experience and her substantial performances on stage and screen."[6] 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."[8]

Miss America[edit]

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.[9][10][11][12][13][14] 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.[15]

Music career[edit]

Vanessa Williams on July 4, 2006

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.

Acting career[edit]

Television roles[edit]

Williams' first television appearance was on a 1984 episode of The Love Boat.[16] 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[17] and Boomtown.[18] 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.[1][19] 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.[20][21]

Vanessa Williams entering the Bryant Park tents during the 2007 Mercedes-Benz fashion week show.

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.[1] Her performance on the series resulted in a nomination for outstanding supporting actress at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards[22] and in 2008 and 2009, she was nominated in the outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series category for Ugly Betty.[1] 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).[23] 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.[24]

Feature film roles[edit]

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,[25] 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,[26]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.[27]

Theatrical roles[edit]

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.[28] 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.[29]

Other notable theatrical roles include her performances in Carmen Jones at the Kennedy Center,[30][31] 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.[32] 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.[33] 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.[34] Williams was also a special guest star in the Broadway musical After Midnight.[35]

Other media appearances[edit]

Williams has appeared in advertisements for RadioShack.[36] She is a spokesmodel for Proactiv Solution,[37] and was the first African-American spokesmodel for L'Oréal cosmetics in the late 1990s.[38] Her other media appearances include endorsing Crest Rejuvenating Effects Toothpaste,[39] 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.[40]

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.[41][42] In a commercial that began running during Super Bowl XLVI in 2012, Williams voiced the new character Ms. Brown, a brown M&M.[43]

Name conflict[edit]

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.[44][45] 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.[44]

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,[44] 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".[45]

Personal life[edit]

Williams has been married three times. She married her first husband, Ramon Hervey II,[46][47] in 1987[48][49] 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).[50][51][48] She was the major breadwinner during the marriage[52] which lasted for 10 years until 1997.[53][54] Hervey also ceased to be her manager during the marriage.[55][56] After the divorce, Williams expressed respect for him.[57] They have three children: Melanie, Jillian Hervey, and Devin.[58] Jillian, following in her mother's footsteps, released her first single with the duo Lion Babe in 2012.[59]

Two years later in 1999, Williams married NBA basketball player Rick Fox. They had a daughter in May 2000.[58] 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.[60] A few months later in August 2004, Fox filed for divorce from Williams.[61] Their split was amicable, and they later worked together on Ugly Betty.[1][62]

She met her third husband, Jim Skrip, ten years later. Williams married Skrip, a businessman, from Buffalo, New York, on July 4, 2015.[63] She announced her engagement during a 2014 taping of The Queen Latifah Show.[64]

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.[65][66] She also spoke candidly about having an abortion while she was in high school.[67] 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".[68] She is also a supporter of The San Miquel Academy of Newburgh, a school for boys at risk.[69]

Television and film[edit]


Year Title Role Notes
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[70] 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[71] Desperate Housewives Renee Perry[72] Main Role, Series Regular (Seasons 78); 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


Year Title Role Notes
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
1997 Hoodlum Francine Hughes
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[edit]

Year Title Role
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


Year Title Role
1985 One Man Band One of "The Women"
1989 Checkmates Laura
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
2014 After Midnight --

Awards and accolades[edit]

Grammy Awards history[edit]

Williams has received eleven Grammy nominations without a win.

Year Category Track/album Result
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

Additional awards and nominations[edit]

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[76] 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 Album "Next" Nominated
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
2001 Shaft 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[77][78] 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[79] 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


  • 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Vanessa Williams Biography". Retrieved 2015-09-15. 
  2. ^ "African American Legislators in 19th Century Tennessee: WILLIAM ALEXANDER FEILDS". State of Tennessee. Retrieved 2015-09-19. 
  3. ^ "Actress Vanessa Williams Explains How DNA Powers Her Family Tree". May 14, 2013. 
  4. ^ Telegraph Reporters (2015-09-14). "Miss America apologises to Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty star". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2015-09-15. 
  5. ^ a b "Vanessa Williams Biography". Retrieved 2015-09-15. 
  6. ^ a b c 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. 
  7. ^ AP (2008-05-14). "Vanessa Williams To Graduate From College This Weekend". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-09-15. 
  8. ^ Johnson, Melinda (2008-05-10). "Vanessa Williams gets Syracuse University degree". Retrieved 2015-09-15. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ "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.' 
  11. ^ "A New York Debut". People. Retrieved February 23, 2013. 
  12. ^ Wilson, Julee (September 17, 2012). "A Look Black: Vanessa Williams Crowned Miss America In 1983". The Huffington Post. Retrieved February 23, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Vanessa Williams". CBS News. Retrieved February 23, 2013. 
  14. ^ "This Day in History – Sep 17, 1983: Vanessa Williams becomes first black Miss America". Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  15. ^ Rogers, Katie (2015-09-14). "Vanessa Williams Returns to Miss America and Receives an Apology". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-14. 
  16. ^ Snierson, Dan (October 7, 2007). "'Love Boat': A Fantastic Voyage". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  17. ^ "Vanessa Williams". InStyle. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  18. ^ "Vanessa Williams: Boomtown's New Bombshell!". TV Guide. September 2, 2003. Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  19. ^ "South Beach". Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  20. ^ Nellie Andreeva (March 9, 2012). "‘Desperate Housewives’ Vanessa Williams to Co-Star in ABC Pilot ’666 Park Avenue’". Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  21. ^ Matt Webb Mitovich (March 9, 2012). "Pilot Scoop: Vanessa Williams Lands at ABC's Supernatural 666 Park Avenue". TV Line. Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Vanessa Williams Emmy Award Winner". 
  23. ^ "Desperate Housewives" Scoop: Vanessa L. Williams Moving to Wisteria Lane!, Entertainment Weekly, May 18, 2010.
  24. ^ "Vanessa Williams on Miss America apology, "The Good Wife"". ‘’CBS This Morning’’. 2015-11-12. Retrieved 2015-11-13. 
  25. ^ "Vanessa Williams Brings MY BROTHER to Big Screen". Yahoo! Voices. March 14, 2007. Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  26. ^ 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.". Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  27. ^ Production On 'Hannah Montana: The Movie' Is Underway. WJXT Jacksonville[dead link]
  28. ^ Hershenson, Roberta (October 2, 1994). "Vanessa Williams, a Homespun 'Spider Woman'". New York Times. Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  29. ^ 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. 
  30. ^ "Vanessa Williams Sings Carmen Jones Nov. 15-17 at Kennedy Center". 15 November 2002. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  31. ^ Portantiere, Michael. "Vanessa Williams Announced for Title Role in Carmen Jones at Kennedy Center". Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  32. ^ "St Louis Woman Original New York Cast 21 Tracks". Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  33. ^ Jones, Kenneth."Sondheim on Sondheim, a New Musical Reflection of a Life in Art, Begins on Broadway". Playbill, March 19, 2010.
  34. ^ "The Trip To Bountiful". Roundabout Theatre Company, April 5, 2013.
  35. ^ Diamond Grant."Vanessa Williams Steps Into 'After Midnight' on Deck Circle"., February 20, 2014.
  36. ^ "What Do Vanessa Williams, Willie Nelson, Hilary Duff, Amy Grant, and RadioShack Have in Common?". radio Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  37. ^ "Vanessa Williams". Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  38. ^ "L'Oréal Futur-E TV Ad (1998)". YouTube. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  39. ^ Mayer, Merry (August 3, 2005). "Could I borrow your razor, honey?". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  40. ^ "Vanessa Williams To Host Sixth Annual TV Land Awards In June". access hollywood. May 22, 2008. Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  41. ^ "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire:Episode Guide". msn. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  42. ^ "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire 10th Anniversary - Part 4". Dailymotion. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  43. ^ Owen, Rob (February 17, 2012). "TV Q&A: 'The Good Wife,' awards shows and 'The Little Couple'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  44. ^ a b c Hobson, Louis B. (August 16, 1998), "Vanessa dancing up a storm",
  45. ^ a b "Vanessa Williams: Boomtown's New Bombshell!". TV Guide. September 2, 2003.
  46. ^ Norment, Lynn (October 1997). "Vanessa L. Williams: on her painful divorce, the pressures of superstardom and her new life as a single mom". Ebony. Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  47. ^ "Jet". Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  48. ^ a b "Jet". Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  49. ^ "Vanessa Williams Is Engaged to Boyfriend Jim Skrip—Check Out Her Stunning Engagement Ring!". Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  50. ^ "Long past that Miss A scandal, Vanessa Williams is happy she - and pageant - are back in Atlantic City". Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
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External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Debra Maffett
Miss America
Succeeded by
Suzette Charles
Preceded by
Eileen Clark
Miss New York
Succeeded by
Melissa Manning