Michelle Williams

After enjoying initial stardom on the angst-fueled teen series "Dawson's Creek" (The WB, 1998-2003), Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning actress Michelle Williams essayed complex, multi-faceted women in such critical and popular hits as "Brokeback Mountain" (2005), "Blue Valentine" (2010), "Manchester by the Sea" (2016) and "Fosse/Verdon" (FX, 2019). Born Michelle Ingrid Williams in Kalispell, Montana on September 9, 1980, she relocated with her younger sister and three paternal half-siblings to San Diego, California when she was nine years of age. There, she became interested in acting after seeing a stage version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and began appearing in local theater productions. In her teenaged years, Williams began traveling to Los Angeles to audition for film and television roles, and made her screen debut as a seductive teenager in a 1993 episode of "Baywatch" (NBC/syndicated, 1989-2001). Appearances in features like "Lassie" (1994) and "Species" (1995) preceded her breakout role on "Dawson's Creek." Williams played Jen Lindley, the most visibly troubled member of the series' quartet of self-analyzing teens; though a ratings hit and a launching board for Williams's appearances in teen-oriented features like "Halloween: H20" (1998) and "Dick" (1999), she longed for more substantive work, and found it between seasons in the Off-Broadway production of Tracy Letts's Killer Joe and the HBO feature "If These Walls Could Talk 2" (2000), which cast her and Chloe Sevigny as young gay women in a relationship. When "Creek" ended in 2003, Williams continued to seek out challenging fare: she was a young woman embroiled in a destructive relationship with friend Anna Friel in "Me Without You" (2001), and a small-town librarian involved with reclusive Peter Dinklage in "The Station Agent" (2003) before scoring a personal and professional triumph with Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain" (2005). Cast as Heath Ledger's long-suffering wife, she earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, while also forging a romantic relationship with Ledger that resulted in the birth of a daughter in 2005. Their union ran aground in 2007, one year before Ledger's tragic death from a prescription overdose; Williams found solace in her work, which included Todd Haynes's film about Bob Dylan, "I'm Not There" (2007) and Charlie Kaufman's unique "Synecdoche, New York" (2008), as well as a near-solo turn as a homeless woman in "Wendy and Lucy" (2008). She capped this string of indies with a potent turn as a woman who committed infanticide in Martin Scorsese's supernatural thriller "Shutter Island" (2010) and as a woman in a troubled marriage to Ryan Gosling in Derek Cianfrance's "Blue Valentine" (2010), the latter of which earned her a second Oscar nomination. A third Academy nod would come the following year with her turn as Marilyn Monroe in "My Week with Marilyn" (2011), which Williams followed with a diverse collection of projects, from Sarah Polley's mature romance "Take This Waltz" (2011) to Sam Raimi's "Oz the Great and Powerful" (2012), which cast her as Glinda the Good Witch. The latter was chosen to appeal to her daughter, Mathilde Rose, and Williams' desire to provide a more constant presence in her life led to stage work that culminated in a 2014 Broadway run as Sally Bowles in Cabaret and a 2016 Tony nomination for Blackbird. She returned to films in 2016 as Casey Affleck's estranged wife in Kenneth Lonergan's "Manchester by the Sea," which netted a fourth Oscar nomination. Its critical success spurred a flurry of activity by Williams, who moved swiftly from the lavish musical "The Greatest Showman" (2017) to Ridley Scott's troubled drama "All the Money in the World" (2018), which earned her a Golden Globe nomination as the mother of kidnapping victim J. Paul Getty. A rare foray into big-budget genre films came with "Venom" (2018), an adaptation of the Marvel Comics series with Tom Hardy, provided her with the highest-grossing film of her career, which she followed with an English-language remake of "After the Wedding" (2019). Williams then returned to television for the first time since "If These Walls Could Talk 2" for "Fosse/Verdon," a miniseries based on the tumultuous lives and careers of choreographer and filmmaker Bob Fosse (played by Sam Rockwell) and dancer Gwen Verdon. As Verdon, Williams won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series. While filming, Williams began dating director Thomas Kail;it was announced in December 2019 that the couple had gotten engaged and that Williams was pregnant with her second child.