Prior to television, Williams was a "Shock Jockette" on several radio shows. Williams has gained notoriety for her on-air spats with celebrities. Williams was the subject of the 2006 VH1 reality series TV series called The Wendy Williams Experience which broadcast events surrounding her radio show.
Williams has written an autobiography and several other books, and has created two product lines. An apparel line with QVC called Adorn by Wendy Williams and a wig line named Wendy Williams Hair World.
Early life and educationEdit
Wendy Williams, born July 18, 1964 in Asbury Park, New Jersey is the second of three children. Their parents, Thomas and Shirley Williams, raised Wendy and her siblings in the Wayside section of Ocean Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey. Williams graduated from Ocean Township High School, and from 1982 to 1986, she attended Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, where she graduated with a B.A. in communications and was DJ for the college radio station WRBB.
Williams began her career working for WVIS in the Virgin Islands. In 1989, Williams began at urban contemporary WRKS (now WEPN-FM) in New York City as a subtitute disc jockey. WRKS hired her full-time for its morning show. A year later, Williams moved to an afternoon drive-time shift, eventually winning the Billboard Award for "Best On-Air Radio Personality" in 1993. In December 1994, Emmis Broadcasting purchased WRKS and switched Williams to the company's other New York property, hip-hop formatted WQHT ("Hot 97") as WRKS was reformatted into an urban adult contemporary outlet. Williams was "ignominiously booted" from Hot 97 in 1998 amid allegations of a fist fight and claims that a rapper had convinced the station to fire her because she had alleged he was gay.
Williams was hired by a Philadelphia urban station, WUSL ("Power 99FM") Her husband, Kevin Hunter, became her agent. Williams was very open about her personal life on the air, discussing her miscarriage, breast enhancement surgery, and former drug addiction, and helped the station moved from 14th place in the ratings to 2nd, although listeners claim they "hated" her.
In 2001, Williams return to the New York airwaves when WLBS hired her full-time for a syndicated 2-6 p.m. time slot. Williams' friend, MC Spice of Boston, offered his voiceover services for the show, often adding short rap verses tailored specifically for Williams' show. The New York Times stated that her "show works best when its elements - confessionally paired with snarkiness - are conflated," and cited a 2003 interview with Whitney Houston as an example. During the highly publicized interview that went "haywire" and included "a lot of bleeped language", Williams asked [Houston], insistently, about her drug and spending habits.
By 2008, Williams was syndicated in Redondo Beach, California; Shreveport, Louisiana; Delaware, Toledo, Ohio; Columbia, South Carolina; Emporia, Virginia; Lake Charles, Louisiana; Tyler, Texas and Alexandria, Louisiana among other markets.
Williams left her radio show in 2009 to focus on her television programand spend more time with her family. she was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.
In 2008, Nicole Spence, talent booked for The Wendy Williams Experience, filed papers with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission suing Williams. Spence claimed Williams' husband, Kevin Hunter, demanded sex from Spence on many occasions and created a hostile work environment by threatening and assaulting his wife on company premises. On June 11, 2008, Spence filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Williams, Hunter, and Inner City Broadcasting Corporation in federal court in Manhattan. Both Williams and Hunter deny the charges.
The Wendy Williams ShowEdit
On July 11, 2008, Williams debuted her daytime talk show, The Wendy Williams Show, a 13-week test run on FOX owned-and-operated stations in New York City, Dallas, Detroit and Los Angeles, during the summer of 2008. Fox Television Stations signed a deal with syndication company Debmar-Mercury at the end of the test to broadcast the show on its station group beginning in July 2009.
In addition to its broadcast syndication coverage, BET (Black Entertainment Television) picked up the cable rights to The Wendy Williams Show.
Other television appearancesEdit
In November 1992, Williams was an extra on TV's Martin.
In October 2007, Williams filled in for Jodi Applegate on WNYW's morning television show, Good Day New York.
Williams was announced as one of the contestants on Dancing with the Stars, which began on March 21, 2011. Williams professional dance partner was Tony Dovolani.
Williams has made guest appearances in March and April 2011 on the ABC daytime soap One Life to Live. Where she played a fictional talk show host named Phyllis Rose.
In 2011, Williams played a judge on the LifetIme network show, Drop Dead Diva.
Williams hosted a short-lived dating show for GSN called Love Triangle, which premiered on April 11, 2011. Williams along with her husband Kevin Hunter both served as executive producers.
In February 2013, it was announced that Williams along with her husband and manager Kevin Hunter were launching a reality television company, Wendy Williams Productions. that wil produce unscripted content, including reality, television and game shows.
On March 19, 2013, Williams appeared as a guest judge on an episode of The Face. Prior to this, Williams will also be an executive producer on the show Secret Celebrity.
The TV Guide Network has greenlit a documentary that chronicles Williams' preparations for her 7-week run on the Broadway musical, Chicago, where she is playing the character Mama Morton. The series is beng produced by Williams' own production company, Wendy Williams Productions.
In 2009, Williams announced that she was in the planning stages of making a movie about her life, Queen of All Media, written by Kimba Henriques, with Robin Givens in the lead role as Wendy Williams. Other cast members include: Angel Melaku, Trey Songz, Lil' Kim, Chandra Davis and Thea Vidale. Filming wrapped up in late 2009 and was set to be released in 2011.
Williams appeared in the adaptation of Steve Harvey's book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, titled Think Like a Man in 2012.
In 2012, it was announced Williams would enter into a "production alliance" with producers Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones to create movies and television shows aimed at multicultural audiences. These projects will appear under the heading "Wendy Williams presents" and their first project will be a VH1 adaptation of a Star Jones novel.
In 2009, BlogTV announced that Williams would be partner with the virtual web show hosting website that was scheduled to launch in mid-2010 which would feature live streaming web-cam sessions with celebrity guests.
Adorn by Wendy WilliamsEdit
Williams sells a line of jewelry products on the home shopping network, QVC called "Adorn by Wendy Williams",
Williams and her husband, Kevin Hunter, commissioned the Chinese-based manufacturing firm, Max Harvest international Holdings, to make 12,140 pairs of shoes bearing the logo of her brand, Adorn. The owners of Max Harvest International Holdings were said to have gone into hiding after the owner of the shoe factory who made the shoes kidnapped one of their managers and held the man prisoner for two weeks before releasing himm and Williams' failure to pay was cited for reason, reported by the New York Daily News. The manager and his wife retained lawyer Staci Riordan of Los Angeles. Their representative says they've been in negotiations for several months in order to reach a settlement, Williams declined to comment on the matter.
Williams has been a spokesperson for Georges Veselle champagne.
Williams posed for PETA's "I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur", ad campaign in 2012.
- "Radio Personality of the Year" awards from Billboard, Black Radio Exclusive and Radio & Records industry magazines.
- 2009: named to the National Radio Hall of Fame.