The daughter of an opera singer, Williams went to Brown University with the hopes of becoming a child psychologist but decided to pursue an acting career instead. After landing a starring role on the daytime soap opera Guiding Light
, the stage-trained actress made an unforgettable film debut in the buff in the 1979 drama Kramer vs. Kramer
. Bigger parts in other movies followed, notably as a mother in the supernatural chiller Poltergeist
and as a thirty-something reuniting at a funeral with college friends in The Big Chill
. She later appeared in myriad series and TV-movies, earning multiple Emmy nods in the process. Williams also branched out into directing and garnered an Oscar nod for her 1994 short film On Hope
. She continues her prolific output with a host of guest spots on popular shows such as Law & Order: SVU
and Private Practice
.JoBeth Williams Fast Facts:
- Joined Actor's Equity at age 18.
- After graduating from college, joined Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, RI.
- Early TV work included stints on the soap operas Guiding Light and Somerset.
- Film debut was a nude scene in 1979's Kramer vs. Kramer.
- Best-know for her starring roles in Poltergeist (1982) and The Big Chill (1983).
- Served for five years a member of the Screen Actors Guild national board and was also president of the non-profit SAG Foundation.
- JoBeth Williams Relationships:
- Sarah Pasquin - Stepdaughter
- Roger Williams - Father
- John Pasquin - Husband
- Will Pasquin - Son
- Frances Faye Williams - Mother
- Nick Pasquin - Son
- JoBeth Williams Awards:
- 1988 Emmy: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Special - Nominee
- 1984 Emmy: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Special - Nominee
- 1989 Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television - Nominee
- 1994 Oscar: Best Short Film, Live Action - Nominee
- Brown University, Providence, RI (BA, 1970)