Birth Date: March 18, 1963 / Age: 53
Birth Place: Bronx, New York, USA
Also Credited as: Vanessa Williams
Biography: Vanessa Lynn Williams (born March 18, 1963 in Bronx, New York) is a pop/R&B singer and actress who began her career as the first Black Miss America in 1984. She resigned early in her reign on July 23, 1984, however, when it was discovered that she had posed nude for photographs that were later published in the adult magazine Penthouse.
Williams was born in New York City to two teachers; she and her brother grew up in the suburbs of NYC. She received a scholarship and attended Syracuse University, but later dropped out of college to pursue a career in entertainment.
Williams managed to rise above the Miss America scandal and become a popular singer with her 1988 debut album, The Right Stuff, which reached gold status and earned her three Grammy Award 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". Throughout her career, Williams has sold six million records and received fifteen Grammy nominations.
In 2005, Vanessa released her eighth studio album, Everlasting Love, a collection of covers of her favorite 1970s songs.
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. Her other movies include 1997's Hoodlum opposite Laurence Fishburne, 2000's Shaft opposite Samuel L. Jackson and most recently, 2004's Johnson Family Vacation alongside Cedric the Entertainer.
In addition to her music, theater, and work on the silver screen, Williams has starred in numerous made-for-TV movies, miniseries, and has appeared on hit shows including, The Love Boat, TJ Hooker, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Saturday Night Live, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, LateLine, Ally McBeal and Boomtown. She has also appeared in a number of advertisements for Radio Shack, starting in 2001. Recently Williams has become the spokesmodel for Proactiv Solutions.
Williams has won three NAACP Image Awards, one Billboard Music Award, seven New York Music Awards, one MTV Video Music Award, and. one Theater World Award. She has been nominated for fifteen Grammy Awards and also in the category Best Actress in a Musical for her work in 2002's revival of Into The Woods by the Tony Awards. In 1996, she received the Soul Train: Lady of Soul Lena Horne Lifetime Career Achievement Award for Outstanding work in the field of entertainment.
Williams is the mother of four children. Three of her children are from her first marriage to her then-manager Ramon Hervey, which ended in in 1997. She married again in 1999 to NBA basketball star Rick Fox. They have one daughter, Sasha. Rick Fox filed for divorce on August 11, 2004. Although Williams maintains that the two are still married, they are believed to be separated. As of 2005, the divorce is not final.