Vanessa L. Williams

Vanessa L. Williams, Singer, NYC

Home New York City Famous Personalities Info

Vanessa L. Williams

Getting Started


NYC Neighborhoods

Staten Island

NYC Icons

Chrysler Building
Flatiron Building
Empire State Building

Safe NYC


NYC Weather

NYC Climate
NYC Weather Forecast
Winter Season
Spring Season
Summer Season
Fall Season

NYC History & Politics

New York City History
Tammany Hall and Politics
New York City Politicians
New York City Personalities

Culture of Gotham City

Culture of the city
Cultural diversity
City in popular culture

Vanessa Lynn Williams (born March 18, 1963) is a Grammy Award-nominated, Emmy Award-nominated, and Tony Award-nominated American R&B/pop/theatrical singer and actress

Williams made history in 1983 when she became the first African-American woman to be crowned Miss America. Williams' reign as Miss America came to an abrupt end when scandal led to her subsequent resignation of the title. Williams rebounded by launching a career as an entertainer.


Williams was born in Watertown, New York to Milton and Helen Williams, who were both music teachers. She has a younger brother named Chris, who is also an actor. They grew up in a middle-class suburban area. Prophetically, her parents put "Here she is: Miss America" on her birth announcement.

Williams studied piano and French horn growing up, but was most interested in singing. She received a scholarship and attended Syracuse University as a Theatre Arts major, but chose to discontinue her college education to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.

After time out of the spotlight, Williams secured a record deal, and released her debut album, The Right Stuff in 1988. The first single, "The Right Stuff", was successful on the R&B charts and the third single, "Dreamin'", was a chart success becoming Williams' first top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and her first number one single in the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The album reached gold status and earned her three Grammy Award nominations, including one for Best New Artist.

Her second album The Comfort Zone became the biggest success in her music career. The lead single Running Back to You became another chart topper for her, reaching the top position of Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in October 5, 1991. Other singles included "The Comfort Zone", "Just for Tonight", "Work to Do" and the club hit "Freedom Dance (Get Free!). The most successful single from the album, as well as her biggest hit to date is "Save the Best for Last". The song was at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks and reached #1 on charts in countries all over the world, including Australia, the Netherlands, and Canada and in the top 5 in Japan and the United Kingdom. The album went three times platinum in the United States by the RIAA, gold in Canada by the CRIA, and platinum in the United Kingdom by the BPI. The Comfort Zone earned her five Grammy Award nominations.

In addition to Williams' first two albums, her most notable chart successes have included the songs "Love Is", "The Sweetest Days", "Colors of the Wind", and "Oh How The Years Go By". In total, Williams has sold over six million records and received fifteen Grammy Award nominations.

In early 2007, it was announced she had signed with jazz label Concord Records. An album, which will be her 9th, is expected later this year and will be a mix of old jazz standards as well as new ballads/Brazilian bossa nova as well.

Williams parlayed 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 a Tony-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.

Williams has appeared in several feature films. Her most prominent role was in the film Soul Food (1997), for which she won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture. Vanessa appeared in the 1991 cult classic film Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man. She also co-starred with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie Eraser and opposite Latin sensation Chayanne in Dance with Me.

As of 2007, Vanessa has starred in two movies. The first being My Brother(in which she received an award) and the second being And Then Came Love.

For the complete list of her feature film roles, see Vanessa L. Williams at the Internet Movie Database.

Williams' first television appearance was on a 1984 episode of The Love Boat, playing herself. 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.

She has had many appearances in television movies and miniseries, including Perry Mason: The Case of the Silenced Singer and The Jacksons: An American Dream. She played the nymph Calypso in the 1997 Hallmark Entertainment miniseries The Odyssey, starring Armand Assante. She appeared as the Ebenezer Scrooge character in an update of the 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 early 2006 she starred in the short lived UPN drama South Beach.

In 2007, Williams received considerable media attention for her comic/villainess role as magazine editor Wilhelmina Slater in the ABC comedy series Ugly Betty, produced by Salma Hayek. Her performance on the series has resulted in a nomination for outstanding supporting actress at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards.

This is NYC

New York City Neighborhoods

NYC has a rich history in diversity and the city as a whole is nothing more than many small neighborhoods. Explore it with us..

NYC Neighborhoods
Manhattan Island

NYC Waterfronts & Beaches

NYC's waterfront is roughly 600 miles long and the overall form of the Harbor has remained unchanged from the time of Giovanni da Verrazzano. Learn more about the harbor, its shores and its waterways.

NYC Waterfronts
New York City Beaches

History and Politics of NYC

Did you know that New York City was briefly the U.S. capital during 1789-90 and was state capital until 1797?

New York City History
Tammany Hall and Politics
New York City Politicians

Culture of Gotham City

The culture of NYC is shaped by centuries of immigration, the city's size and variety, and its status as the cultural capital of the United States.

Culture of the city
Cultural diversity
City in popular culture

Travel & Transportation

The dominant mode of transportation in New York City is mass transit - Subways and Buses. However, it is the Taxicabs that are real New York icons!

Safety & Security

How safe is New York City? Contrary to popular belief, the City consistantly ranks in the top ten safest large cities in the United States. The NYPD is the largest municipal police force in the world and has it's own Movie/TV Unit.

New York Climate

New York has a humid continental climate resulting from prevailing wind patterns that bring cool air from the interior of the North American continent. New York winters are typically cold with moderate snowfall.
New York Weather Forecast


New York's two key demographic features are its density and diversity. The New York City metropolitan area is home to the largest Jewish community outside Israel. It is also home to nearly a quarter of the nation's South Asians, and the largest African American community of any city in the country.
Ethnic composition

New York Newspapers

Niagara Falls Express: Overnight Tour from New York Romance Over Manhattan Private Helicopter Flight

home | get listed | privacy policy | site map back to top

Quick Links to Neighborhoods Manhattan | Bronx | Brooklyn | Queens | Staten Island

Website: 2004-08 All Rights Reserved. Permission must be secured prior to duplication of any content, including images.
All Photos: 2000-2007 Nishanth Gopinathan |, unless otherwise credited. All International Rights Reserved.

Hosting: PixvieweRTM Web Hosting | Web Design: Live EyesTM (