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Encyclopedia > Vanessa Williams
Vanessa Lynn Williams
Vanessa Lynn Williams
This article is about Vanessa Williams the actress and singer, for the actress on Melrose Place see Vanessa Williams (actress).

Vanessa Lynn Williams (born March 18, 1963) is a pop and R&B singer who began her career as the first black Miss America. She resigned early in her reign on July 23, 1984, however, when it was discovered that she had posed nude for sadomasochistically/lesbierotically themed photographs that were later published in the magazine Penthouse.


Name confusion

The most confusing thing involving Vanessa is her name. She was known as just Vanessa Williams for most of her career. However, in the late 1990s, actress Vanessa Williams, who starred on Melrose Place among other projects, won an actor's union decision that stated that she had the right to use Vanessa Williams as a stage name (the rules only allow one performer per name). Since then, Vanessa Williams the singer and actress has been known as Vanessa L or Vanessa Lynn Williams.


She managed to rise above the Miss America scandal and become a popular singer with her 1988 debut album, The Right Stuff, which went gold and earned Vanessa three Grammy Nominations, including one for Best New Artist. Her most notable songs include Dreamin, Running Back To You, Save The Best For Last, Love Is, The Sweetest Days, Colors of the Wind, and Oh How The Years Go By. In addition to 15 Grammy nominations, Ms. Williams also has three NAACP Image Awards, A Billboard Music Award, 7 New York Music Awards, An MTV Video Music Award, A Theater World Award, and most recently was nominated for Best Actress in a Musical for 2002's Into The Woods by the Tony Awards. In 1996, she recieved the Soul Train: Lady of Soul Lena Horne Lifetime Career Achievement Award for Outstanding work in the field of entertainment.

Film work

Vanessa also made a splash into Hollywood and became an acclaimed actress, with appearances in films like Eraser, co-starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and starring in movies such as 1997's Soul Food for which she won the Best Actress award from the NAACP, and Dance With Me in 1998. Other movies include 1997's Hoodlum opposite Laurence Fishburne, 2000's Shaft opposite Samuel L. Jackson and her most recent, Johnson Family Vacation alongside Cedric The Entertainer.


In addition to her music, theater, and work on the silver screen, she has made numerous made-for-TV movies and miniseries and has appeared on hit shows including, The Love Boat, TJ Hooker, The Fresh Prince Bel-Air, Saturday Night Live, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Lateline, Ally McBeal, and Boomtown.

Personal Life

In her personal life, she is the mother of four children. Three of her children are from her first marriage to her then-manager Ramon Hervey. The marriage ended in 1997. She again married in 1999 to NBA basketball star Rick Fox. They have one daughter, Sasha. Rick Fox filed for divorce on August 11, 2004. Although Ms. Williams maintains that the two of them are still married, they are believed to be separated. The divorce is not final as yet.

For 2005, Vanessa is releasing her eighth studio album Everlasting Love, a collection of her favorite '70s songs.

External links

  • Vanessa L. Williams (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001853/) at the Internet Movie Database
  • Official Site (http://www.vanessawilliamsmusic.com)
  • Fan Site (http://www.vanessawilliams.de)

  Results from FactBites:
Official Ticketmaster site. Vanessa Williams tickets, concerts and tour dates (964 words)
When Vanessa Williams began her singing career, she was known chiefly as the Miss America pageant winner who'd been forced to renounce her title for posing in Penthouse magazine.
Williams not only put the scandal behind her, she all but obliterated it, turning out a series of slick, sophisticated hits that made her one of the most popular adult contemporary R&B singers of her time.
Williams had posed for a series of nude photos for Penthouse prior to her historic victory, and when the magazine published them in 1984, the ensuing scandal forced her to resign as Miss America.
Vanessa Lynn Williams - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1466 words)
Vanessa Lynn Williams (born March 18, 1963 in Millwood, New York) is a pop/RandB singer and actress who made history when she became the first African American woman to be crowned Miss America in September, 1983.
Williams was born in New York City to two teachers; she and her brother grew up in the suburbs of NYC.
Vanessa also made a splash into Hollywood and became an acclaimed actress, with appearances in films such as Eraser, co-starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, and starring in movies such as 1997's Soul Food, for which she won the Best Actress award at the NAACP Image Awards, and 1998's Dance With Me.
  More results at FactBites »



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