Birthplace: Milwood, New York
After making headlines as the first African-American to be crowned Miss America (1983) and for the photos subsequently published in Penthouse that forced her to give up the title, Williams went on to become even better known for her work as a film, television, and stage actress and a singer. Her movies include Eraser (1996), Soul Food (1997), and opposite Samuel L. Jackson in Shaft (2000); her television appearances include Stompin' at the Savoy (1992) and The Odyssey (1997), and she starred in Kiss of the Spider Woman on stage (1994). She has been nominated for nine Grammy Awards for albums such as The Comfort Zone (1991) and Next (1997). She is on the TV series South Beach (2006).