Vanessa Lynn Williams is an American movie actress, singer and fashion designer. She was born in The Bronx in
New York, and at the age of 20, she was the recipient of the title of Miss America 1984 in 1983 after which she gained widespread recognition for being the first ever African-American to receive the title. However, the publicity soon followed a scandal involving the famous magazine Penthouse.
A few weeks before her reign was about to end, Williams found out that Penthouse was about to release unauthorized nude pictures of her. She was forced to resign as Miss America in the July of1984 under the pressure of the Miss America Board.However, the scandal did not faze her to make a mark in the industry. She debuted as an actress in 1984 in an episode of the TV show The Love Boat. She appeared in many other TV shows like Francesca Annis and James Warwick starrer Partners in Crime, T.J Hooker, and The Redd Fox Show between 1984 and 1988. In 1987, she appeared in her first feature-length film ‘The Pick-Up Artist’ starring
Robert Downey Jr. In 1995, she starred in the TV Movie adaptation of the stage play “Bye Bye Birdie” produced for ABC by RHI Entertainment. She played the role of Rose Alvarez opposite
Jason Alexander playing Albert Peterson.
She starred as Arandis in
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in 1996 following it with the role of the nymph Calypso in the TV Mini-series ‘
The Odyssey’ written and directed by Andrei Konchalovsky in 1997. In 2000, she starred in TV Movies such as ‘The Courage to Love’ featuring her in the lead role Henriette Delille, Peter Yates directed Don Quixote and played the lead Ebony Scrooge in The Diva’s Christmas Carol. She caught her break by playing the comic/ villainess role of Wilhelmina Slater as one of the main cast in the ABC comedy-drama ‘
Ugly Betty’ in 2006 which successfully ran for four years. Her performance led to her nomination as the Outstanding Supporting Actress in the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards. In 2010, she joined the Main Cast of ‘Desperate Housewives’ as Renee Perry and stayed till the end of the eighth season.
She also joined the cast of ‘The Librarians’ in 2016 and starred in the 2017 satirical comedy-drama ‘Daytime Divas’ as Maxine Robinson. She also appeared in famous TV Shows like ‘Ally McBeal’, ‘The Mindy Project’, ‘The Modern Family’ and ‘The Good Wife’ as Courtney Page. In 2013, she starred in the role of Janice, boss of a matchmaking company in the movie ‘Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor’ directed by
Tyler Perry. She also has a successful career in singing as she completed eight albums. She released her debut album “The Right Stuff” in 1988 for which she received a Grammy nomination. Her second album ‘The Comfort Zone’ released in 1991 and became the biggest success in her music career. In 2016, she launched her clothing line, for EVINE Live, going by the name “V. for Vanessa Williams."