Williams in September 2018
Wendell Joan Williams
July 18, 1964
Asbury Park, New Jersey, U.S.
|Alma mater||Northeastern University|
|Known for||The Wendy Williams Show, The Wendy Williams Experience|
(m. 1994; div. 1995)
(m. 1997; filed for divorce 2019)
Wendy Joan Williams Hunter (born July 18, 1964) is an American television host, author, fashion designer, and media personality. She has hosted the nationally syndicated television talk show The Wendy Williams Show since 2008.
Prior to television, Williams was a radio DJ and host and quickly became known in New York as a "shock jockette". She gained notoriety for her on-air spats with celebrities and was the subject of the 2006 VH1 reality TV series The Wendy Williams Experience which broadcast events surrounding her radio show. She was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2009.
She has written a New York Times best-selling autobiography and six other books, and has created product lines including a fashion line, a jewelry collection and a wig line. On her 50th birthday, the council of Asbury Park, New Jersey renamed the street on which she grew up "Wendy Williams Way."
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Business
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Books
- 6 Filmography
- 7 Awards and nominations
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Williams was born on July 18, 1964 in Asbury Park, New Jersey. She is the second of three children born to Shirley and Thomas Williams. At age 5, she moved with her family to the Wayside section of Ocean Township, New Jersey. Williams graduated from Ocean Township High School, and from 1982 to 1986 she attended Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, where she graduated with a Bachelor's of Science degree in communications and was a DJ for the college radio station, WRBB.
Williams began her career working for WVIS in the United States Virgin Islands. Less than a year later, she obtained an afternoon position at Washington, D.C.-based station WOL. Williams commuted between DC and Queens, New York, to work an overnight weekend shift at WQHT.
In 1989, Williams began at urban contemporary WRKS (now WEPN-FM) in New York City as a substitute disc jockey. WRKS hired her full-time for its morning show. A year later, Williams moved to an afternoon drive-time shift, eventually winning the Billboard Award for "Best On-Air Radio Personality" in 1993. In December 1994, Emmis Broadcasting purchased WRKS and switched Williams to the company's other New York property, hip-hop formatted WQHT ("Hot 97"), as WRKS was reformatted into an urban adult contemporary outlet. She was fired from Hot 97 in 1998.
Williams was hired by a Philadelphia urban station, WUSL ("Power 99FM"). Her husband, Kevin Hunter, became her agent. She was very open about her personal life on air, discussing her miscarriages, breast enhancement surgery and former drug addiction. She helped the station move from 14th place in the ratings to 2nd.
In 2001, Williams returned to the New York airwaves when WBLS hired her full-time for a syndicated 2–6 p.m. time slot. Williams' friend, MC Spice of Boston, offered his voiceover services to the show, often adding short rap verses tailored specifically for Williams' show. The New York Times stated that her "show works best when its elements – confessional paired with snarkiness – are conflated," and cited a 2003 interview with Whitney Houston as an example. During the highly publicized interview that "went haywire" and included "a lot of bleeped language", Williams "asked [Houston], insistently, about her drug and spending habits".
By 2008, she was syndicated in Redondo Beach, California; Shreveport, Louisiana; Wilmington, Delaware; Toledo, Ohio; Columbia, South Carolina; Emporia, Virginia; Lake Charles, Louisiana; Tyler, Texas; and Alexandria, Louisiana, among other markets.
The Wendy Williams Show
In 2008, Debmar-Mercury offered Williams a six-week television trial of her own talk show. On July 14, 2008, Williams debuted her daytime talk show, The Wendy Williams Show, in four cities during the summer of 2008. During the tryout, The New York Times snarkily remarked that the show created a "breakthrough in daytime" by introducing the genre of the "backtalk show.".
After a successful run, Fox signed a deal with Debmar-Mercury to broadcast the show nationally on their stations beginning in July 2009. In addition, BET picked up cable rights to broadcast the show at night. In 2010, BET started airing the show internationally in 54 countries through BET International.
Williams has received multiple nominations at the Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host and the show itself was for Outstanding Talk Show/Entertainment. The show attracts 2.4 million daily viewers on average, with Williams trading off daily with Ellen DeGeneres as the number one female host on daytime television.
The Wendy Williams Show has been renewed through the 2019–20 television season on the Fox Television Stations.The renewal will keep Wendy on air through its 11th season. During the November 2015 sweeps period, the talk show finished either No. 1 or 2 in the key demo of women 25-54 in 55% of the U.S. and 20 of the top-25 markets.
Williams had not missed a show until February 2018, when she took one week off; however, on February 21, 2018, Williams announced that her show would be on three weeks' hiatus due to her complications with Graves' disease and hyperthyroidism.
In January 2019, a statement from the Williams Hunter family revealed that Williams had been hospitalized due to complications from Graves' disease and that her return to the show would be delayed indefinitely as a result. Guest hosts such as Nick Cannon filled in for Wendy during her absence; she returned on March 4, 2019.
Other television appearances
Williams filled in for Jodi Applegate on WNYW's morning television show, Good Day New York (2007), and hosted a game show for GSN called Love Triangle (2011) for which she and her husband Kevin Hunter served as executive producers.
Williams played a judge on the Lifetime network show Drop Dead Diva (2011) and served as a guest judge on The Face (2013). She was also a contestant, paired with pro Tony Dovolani on season 12 of Dancing with the Stars (2011); she was eliminated second.
In February 2013, it was announced that Williams and her husband and manager, Kevin, were launching a reality television production company, Wendy Williams Productions. that will produce unscripted content, including reality television and game shows. Williams was an executive producer on the show Celebrities Undercover (2014).
Williams also executive produced the Lifetime biopic Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B, which premiered on November 15, 2014. In September 2015, the documentary series Death By Gossip with Wendy Williams premiered on the Investigation Discovery channel, both hosted and produced by Williams.
In 2012, it was announced Williams would enter into a "production alliance" with producers Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones to create movies and television shows aimed at multicultural audiences. These projects will appear under the heading "Wendy Williams presents" and their first project will be VH1 adaptation of a Star Jones novel.
In 2013, Williams was cast play the role of Matron "Mama" Morton on the Broadway musical Chicago.. She began her tenure on July 2 and finished her seven-week run on August 11, 2013. Her preparations for the musical were documented in the TV Guide docuseries Wendy Williams: How You Doin', Broadway?!, which was produced by her own production company, Wendy Williams Productions.
Before Wendy turned 50, stand-up comedy was on her bucket list. In 2014, Lipshtick called Williams to participate in their first all-female-based comedy series at the Venetian in Las Vegas. Williams made her sold-out comedy debut on July 11, 2014. Williams' comedy tour was called "The Sit-down Comedy Tour." Williams returned to Lipshtick on October 31, 2014, and November 1, 2014, after she made a sold-out debut in July.
Williams hosted her "How You Laughin'" Comedy Series at NJPAC on November 15, 2014, featuring Luenell, Jonathan Martin, Pat Brown, Hadiyah Robinson, and Meme Simpson. In 2015, Williams announced a 12-city comedy tour called "The Wendy Williams Sit Down Tour: Too Real For Stand-Up."
HSN clothing line
By partnering with the Home Shopping Network (HSN), Williams debuted a line of dresses, pants, sweaters and skirts fit for the everyday woman. Her HSN Clothing line debuted on March 28, 2015. Williams told viewers on her talk show that according to HSN, the debut was their most watched premiere since the onset of the program. The Wendy Williams line is sold exclusively at HSN.
Williams and her husband, Kevin Hunter, commissioned the China-based manufacturing firm Max Harvest International Holdings to make 12,140 pairs of shoes bearing the logo of her brand, Adorn. The owners of Max Harvest International Holdings were said to have gone into hiding after the owner of the shoe factory who made the shoes kidnapped one of their managers and held the man prisoner for two weeks before releasing him, and Williams' failure to pay was cited the reason, reported by the New York Daily News. The manager and his wife retained lawyer Staci Riordan of Los Angeles. Their representative says they've been in negotiations for several months in order to reach a settlement. Williams declined to comment on the matter.
In her autobiography, Wendy's Got the Heat, she uses the pseudonym Robert Morris III to refer to her first husband, whom she describes as a salesperson. They were separated after five months, followed by a year-and-a-half of divorce proceedings. On November 30, 1997, Williams married her second husband, Kevin Hunter. Their son, Kevin Hunter Jr., was born in 2000. Williams is a Christian and has stated that she prays with her husband before every show. On March 19, 2019, Williams announced she is living in a sober house due to her past cocaine addiction. Her husband and son were the only two who knew about it before the show aired. On April 11, 2019, Williams' representative confirmed she had filed for divorce from Hunter.
In 2008, Nicole Spence, talent booker for The Wendy Williams Experience, filed papers with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission suing Williams. Spence claimed Williams' husband Kevin demanded sex from Spence on many occasions and created a hostile work environment by threatening and assaulting his wife on company premises. On June 11, 2008, Spence filed a sexual-harassment lawsuit against Williams, Hunter, and Inner City Broadcasting Corporation in federal court in Manhattan. Both Williams and Hunter deny the charges. The case was dismissed with prejudice on October 22, 2008.
Williams is a seven-time New York Times best-seller and has published several books, including:
- Wendy's Got the Heat (2003), coauthored with Karen Hunter Atria; 1st edition (August 5, 2003)
- The Wendy Williams Experience (2005)
- Ask Wendy: Straight-Up Advice for All the Drama in Your Life (2013) ISBN 9780062268389
- Drama Is Her Middle Name: The Ritz Harper Chronicles, Vol. 1 (2006), coauthored with Karen Hunter
- Is the Bitch Dead, Or What?: The Ritz Harper Chronicles, Book 2 (2007), coauthored with Karen Hunter
- Ritz Harper Goes to Hollywood! (Ritz Harper Chronicles) (2009), coauthored with Zondra Hughes
|2004||The Cookout||Reporter No. 2|
|2011||The Cookout 2||Wendy Williams|
|2012||Think Like a Man||Gail|
|2013||World War Z||Wendy Williams||Opening sequence|
|2014||Think Like a Man Too||Gail|
|2016||Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates||Wendy Williams|
|1992||Martin||Wendy Williams||Episode: "Radio Days"|
|1995||New York Undercover||WGHT DJ||Episode: "You Get No Respect"|
|2011||One Life to Live||Phyllis Rose||Episode: "1.10885"|
|2011||Drop Dead Diva||Judge Mary Rudd||Episode: "Hit and Run"|
|2012||30 Rock||Wendy Williams||Episode: "My Whole Life is Thunder"|
|2013||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Wendy Williams||Episode: "Funny Valentine"|
|2013||Belle's||Episode: "Runaway Bride"|
|2013||The Neighbors||Shirley||Episode: "The One with Interspecies F-R-I-E-N-D-S"|
|2014||Santa Con||Pastor Ruth||Television film|
|2016||Ice Age: The Great Egg-Scapade||Condor Mom||Voice only; television special|
|2017||Nightcap||Herself||Episode: "Go-Fund Yourself"|
|2017||Odd Mom Out||Herself||Episode: "Blood Bath"|
Awards and nominations
- Radio Personality of the Year awards from Billboard, Black Radio Exclusive, and Radio & Records industry magazines
- 2009: named to the National Radio Hall of Fame
- Hosted the 2013 Soul Train Awards Red Carpet
- Hosted the 2014 Soul Train Awards in Las Vegas, which aired on November 30, 2014.
- Nominated for The 42nd & 43rd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Talk Show/Entertainment and Outstanding Talk Show Host.
- Nominated for The 44th & 46th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Talk Show Host.
- "Wendy Williams: Talk Show Host, Radio Talk Show Host (1964–)". Biography.com. A&E Networks. Archived from the original on March 22, 2019. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
- "How New York's Shock Jockette Got Supersized". New York. October 16, 2005. Archived from the original on November 20, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2006.
- Neglia, Ashley V. (June 9, 2008). "Mixing Media"". New Jersey Monthly. Archived from the original on May 3, 2016. Retrieved July 22, 2008.
- Ogunnaike, Lola (October 3, 2003). Drama Queen. Vibe Media Group. pp. 160–. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
- "Wendy Williams". Northeastern University. May 1, 2004. Archived from the original on January 28, 2017.
... Williams, AS '86...
- "Q&A with Wendy Williams". November 5, 2018. Archived from the original on February 26, 2019. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Woodruff, Mandi (June 20, 2013). "Every College Grad Should Hear Wendy Williams' Story About Struggling To Make It Big". Business Insider. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
- "Wendy Williams Reveals Bill Cosby Tried to Get Her Fired... TWICE". EURweb. July 29, 2017. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
- Drake, Monica (July 13, 2008). "TELEVISION; A Radio Shock Jock Who's Ready for TV". The New York Times. p. 17. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
- "Omarosa: Wendy Williams a 'Fake and a Phony'". Fox News Channel. July 23, 2008. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
- Stanley, Alessandra (July 22, 2008). "Talk Show Is Less Talk, More Alpha-Female Action". The New York Times. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
- "National Radio Hall of Fame: Wendy Williams, Talkshow Host". Archived from the original on December 18, 2009. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
- Stanley, Alessandra (July 22, 2008). "Talk Show Is Less Talk, More Alpha-Female Action". The New York Times. Retrieved September 24, 2016.
- Littleton, Cynthia (January 12, 2009). "'Wendy Williams' set for July: Talk show goes national this summer". Variety.
- Fearn-Banks, Kathleen, and Anne Burford-Johnson (2014). Historical Dictionary of African American Television. p. 508. ISBN 0810879174.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
- Ross, Kevin (June 1, 2010). "BET Networks Acquires Debmar-Mercury's 'THE WENDY WILLIAMS SHOW' for Season Two Domestically; Secures International Channels Rights". Radiofacts. Retrieved September 24, 2016.
- "Wendy Williams Nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award! | The Wendy Williams Show". Wendyshow.com. April 1, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
- Rovzar, Chris (March 4, 2015). "How Wendy Williams Became Daytime Talk's Unlikely Survivor". Bloomberg Businessweek. Archived from the original on July 31, 2016. Retrieved September 23, 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- Prudom, Laura (January 19, 2016). "Wendy Williams Show Renewed Through Season 11". Variety. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
- Wendy Williams (February 21, 2018). "A Message from Wendy". Retrieved February 21, 2018.
- Staff, A. O. L. "Wendy Williams hospitalized for 'complications' as she delays return to talk show indefinitely". AOL.com. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
- Littleton, Cynthia; Littleton, Cynthia (February 21, 2019). "Wendy Williams Sets March 4 Return to Syndicated Talk Show". Variety. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
- "GSN Signs acclaimed television personality Wendy Williams to host new original series 'Love Triangle,' premiering April 18, 2011", GSN. Archived January 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- Essex, Myeisha (February 5, 2013). "Wendy Williams Inks First Look Deal with Oxygen". EurWeb. Retrieved April 13, 2013.
-  Archived March 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- Essex, Myeisha (February 6, 2013). "Wendy Williams Launches Reality TV Production Company". Clutch Magazine. Retrieved April 13, 2013.
- Marechal, AJ (February 5, 2013). "Talkshow maven pacts with manager and Debmar Mercury". Variety. Retrieved April 13, 2013.
- "About". Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
- Prudom, Laura (August 19, 2015). "Investigation Discovery Greenlights Series with Barbara Walters, Wendy Williams". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved August 31, 2015.
- Manuel-Logan, Ruth (June 30, 2012). "Wendy Williams, Suzanne DePasse Team Up on Multi-Picture Venture". Blast Zone Online. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
- Bock, Alex (June 28, 2012). "Wendy Williams Aligns With de Passe Jones Entertainment for Scripted Ventures". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
- "Wendy in Chicago on Broadway!". The Wendy Williams Show. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
- Gans, Andrew (April 15, 2013). "Wendy Williams Will Join Cast of Broadway's Chicago This Summer". Playbill. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
- Snetiker, Marc (July 2, 2013). "Talk Show Queen Wendy Williams Brings Sass and Class to Her Big Broadway Bow in Chicago". Broadway.com. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
- Nededog, Jethro (July 17, 2013). "Wendy Williams Reality Series, John Rich Variety Show Coming to TV Guide Network". TheWrap. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
- Williams, Brennan (July 17, 2013). "Wendy Lands Another Network Show". The Huffington Post.
- "Wendy Williams Kicks Off 'Lipshtick – The Perfect Shade of Stand-Up' at The Venetian Las Vegas". VegasNews.com. July 14, 2014. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
- "Wendy Williams Returns to LA in LIPSHTICK – THE PERFECT SHADE OF STAND UP on 10/31011/1". BWW Comedy. August 19, 2014. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
-  Archived November 3, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
- "The Wendy Williams "Sit Down Tour...Too Real For Stand Up". LiveNation.com. August 22, 2015. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- R. D. Fox, Lauren (April 2, 2015). "Exclusive: Wendy Williams On Debuting Her HSN Clothing Line: 'Fashion Shouldn't Be Complicated'". MadameNoire.com. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
- "Wendy Williams Runs Out on a $419K China Shoe Bill!". EurWeb. November 29, 2012. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
- Ross, Barbara (November 26, 2012). "Wendy Williams' failure to pay $400K reason for kidnapping". Daily News. New York. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
- Rogers, Abby (November 28, 2012). "Wendy Williams' Massive Shoe Bill Allegedly Led to Kidnapping in China". Business Insider. Archived from the original on June 28, 2013. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
- Stapleton, Susan (July 11, 2014). "Wendy Williams Talks Buffets, Fans and Nightlife in Vegas – Eater Vegas". Vegas.eater.com. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
- "Media 'Queen' Wendy Williams Strips for PETA," New York Post, November 15, 2012.
- Williams, Wendy; Karen Hunter (2004). Wendy's Got the Heat. Simon and Schuster. p. 105. ISBN 9780743470223. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
- Williams, '"Wendy's Got the Heat p.121.
- "How New York's Shock Jockette Got Supersized". New York. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
- Finn, Natalie (September 28, 2017). "Wendy Williams' Fierce Devotion to Husband Kevin Hunter: Inside Their Complicated Relationship". E! News.
- Frye, Caitlin (March 24, 2013). "The religion and political views of Wendy Williams". Hollowverse.com.
- Butler, Bethonie (March 19, 2019). "Wendy Williams reveals she's been staying in a sober-living house". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
- Melas, Chloe (April 11, 2019). "Wendy Williams files for divorce from Kevin Hunter". CNN. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
- "Court Papers: DJ Wendy Williams' Husband Beat Her, Propositioned Aide for Sex", Fox News Channel, March 25, 2008, Accessed July 22, 2008
- Parham, Marti (July 21, 2008). "Wendy Williams: Unapologetic Radio Host Gets Her Shot At Network TV". Jet. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
- "N.Y. radio host Wendy Williams sued for harassment". USA Today. June 12, 2008. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
- "Buzz Briefs: Jay-Z, R. Kelly", CBS News, June 12, 2008
- Roca, Teresa "Abuse, Sexual Harassment & Threats! Wendy Williams’ Secret Lawsuit Exposed", Radar Online, January 2, 2018
- Williams, Wendy, & Karen Hunter (2003). Wendy's Got the Heat. Atria. ISBN 0743470214.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
- Williams, Wendy, (September 6, 2005). The Wendy Williams Experience. Dutton Adult. ISBN 0525948376.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
- Williams, Wendy, & Karen Hunter (June 20, 2006). Drama is Her Middle Name: The Ritz Harper Chronicles. 1. Harlen Moon. ISBN 0739470043.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
- Williams, Wendy, & Karen Hunter (February 13, 2007). Is the Bitch Dead, Or What?: The Ritz Harper Chronicles Book 2. Broadway. ISBN 0767924878.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
- Williams, Wendy, & Zondra Hughes (2009). Ritz Harper Goes to Hollywood! (Ritz Harper Chronicles) (BCE ed.). Pocket Books. ISBN 1615231307.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
- "Wendy Williams-The Queen of All Media". AALBC.com. Retrieved April 12, 2011.
-  Archived February 21, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- "He Got Soul: Dave Koz". BET. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
- Taibi, Catherine (October 6, 2014). "Wendy Williams To Host 2014 Soul Train Awards". The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
- Furuta, Leslie (March 31, 2015). "The National Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences Announces The 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy®award Nominations" (Press release). New York: The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
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