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VANESSA L. WILLIAMS (Audrey McDonald) has distinguished her career with remarkable success in music, theater, television and film. Among her accomplishments, she had a triumphant nine-month run on Broadway as Aurora in "Kiss of the Spider Woman," during which time her third album, The Sweetest Days, went platinum and her single, "Colors of the Wind" (from the platinum soundtrack of Disney's "Pocahontas"), soared up the charts and went on to earn an Academy Award and a Golden Globe.

On the big screen. Williams co-starred opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in the hit action thriller "Eraser," played Laurence Fishburne's love interest in the crime saga, "Hoodlum," starred as one of a trio of sisters in "Soul Food" and, most recently, portrayed a dance teacher in "Dance with Me." This fall she will appear in "The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland."

Williams has received wide-spread acclaim for her television performances, which include the miniseries "The Odyssey," "The Jacksons: An American Dream" and "Nothing Lasts Forever," the television films "Stompin' at the Savoy," "The Boy Who Loved Christmas," the revival of the classic musical "Bye, Bye Birdie," the animated "Beauty and the Beast" episode of HBO's "Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child" and the Emmy-winning special "Motown Returns to the Apollo." She will next be seen in the cable movie "The Passion of Henriette," which also marks her producing debut.

Williams was born in Millwood, New York, to two music teachers who encouraged her pursuit of a career in entertainment. She majored in musical theatre at Syracuse University before winning the title of Miss America in 1983.

Her musical accomplishments began with her first release, 1988's The Right Stuff which became a pop and R&B smash. In 1991, Williams released the multi-million seller The Comfort Zone which produced the hit single "Save the Best For Last," which topped the pop, adult contemporary and R&B charts for five straight weeks and achieved number one success around the world. Her most recent recording projects include her fourth solo album and a Christmas album.

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