VANESSA WILLIAMS Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Vanessa Lynn Williams was born on March 18 1963, to Milton and Helen Williams. Milton and Helen both held advanced degrees in music so they were perfect for getting Vanessa started in piano and the French horn. But it was her beautiful and silky voice that came naturally to her. It became such a passion that she pursued singing in Syracuse University as a Theater Arts major. As Vanessa’s beauty and graciousness matured, she started doing beauty pageants.


Before she knew it, she was crowned Miss New York. She had to go on to represent New York in the Miss America pageant. So on to the pageant she went, not knowing if she could do the same thing again. But Vanessa proved everyone wrong and won the crown. As a matter of fact, she went on the become the first African American to ever win the Miss America crown. She had the world at her feet. Everybody wanted to interview her. But it was toward the end of her reign that her past had caught up with her. Vanessa had taken pictures for Magazine in her pre-Miss America days and they were threatening to reveal them. So she resigned as Miss America.


When all had seemed hopeless, she picked up her chin and strutted off to ‘move on’ avenue. A year later, Vanessa was doing backup vocals on George Clinton’s “Hey Good Looking” and “Do Fries Go with That Shake?". Although the songs weren’t to widely known, Vanessa caught the attention of Wing/Murcury Record executives. After a couple of meetings, they signed Vanessa to a recording contract. While working up a storm on her debut album, she married and later divorced her now ex-manager Ramon Hervey.


Throughout the marriage, they produced three lovely children (Melanie, Jillian and Devin). By 1988 Vanessa’s debut album The Right Stuff was released. It won her a new image. A more playful, funky, sexy Vanessa. People were starting to appreciate her more. And as luck would have it, her single ‘Dreaming’ had hit #1 on the charts. It was a good year for her and she was back on top.


In 1991 her second album, The Comfort Zone was released. Everyone’s favorite song was another ballad “Save the Best For Last” which remained #1 on the charts for five weeks. In the meantime, Vanessa decided to test her acting skills in small roles. They weren’t very big parts but they did prove to be useful. Vanessa released her third album Sweetest Days and it went platinum almost instantly. During that time she was featured in the Broadway musical, Kiss of the Spider Woman. Because audiences adored her, they recorded a new cast version of the CD.


On the big screen, Vanessa finally got a major role opposite Arnold Schwarznegger in the action/suspense movie Eraser. This opened up a new area of acting for her. Soon she would be gaining more attention by getting roles in Hoodlum, Soul Food, and the TV miniseries The Odyssey. But it was Dance With Me that her fans enjoyed the most. It probably had something to do with the tailor made role that had her in cute clothes and dancing her butt off. It showcased the Vanessa that we were all used to. The one that entertained us all. Somehow she made time in her busy schedule to record and drop her fourth album, Next. Very recently, she married former Los Angeles Laker basketball player Rick Fox.