Born Wendy Joan Williamson in 1964, Wendy Williams was born in Asbury Park, N.J., and grew up in Ocean Township, N.J. The middle child of three, Williams' goal of being a media personality began in college, at Northeastern University in Boston, Mass.
Between classes - Williams studied communications - the future talk show host was a deejay for college radio station WRBB. That led to an internship at WXKS in Boston, better known as Kiss FM. After graduation in 1986, Williams kept on deejaying, joining WVIS in the U.S. Virgin Islands (not a bad gig) and then moving back to the mainland to spin oldies on WOLD in Washington, D.C.
Eventually, she turned up at Kiss FM in New York City. She was just a part-time fill-in deejay, but that wouldn't last for long. After a promotion to full-time, Williams found her niche as a woman who could talk about African-American issues while simultaneously dishing about the celebrities she's met. In less than five years, Williams went from part-timer to winning the Billboard Award for Best On-Air Personality.
Her show lasted for five years before she was let go for allegedly fighting with a co-worker. Williams claims the fight was just a convenient way for the powers-that-be at Kiss FM to send her on her way.
After a short stint in Philadelphia, Williams returned to New York and joined Kiss FM's rival station, WUSL. There, the show was quickly picked up in syndication, and Williams was heard from coast-to-coast.
During her height as a radio show host - the female equivalent of Howard Stern, many say - Williams was approached to pitched an idea to launch her own talk show. The show was famously test-run during summer 2008 in several markets where Fox owns and operates television stations. It was a success, and in 2009, The Wendy Williams Show hit the airwaves. Today it is syndicated across the country and on cable network BET.
Williams already had some TV work under her belt. For one short season, Williams was the star of The Wendy Williams Experience on VH1 in 2006 and 2007. The show was little more than a pair of cameras taping the antics of her WBLS radio program, but it helped prove Williams' screen presence. It also helped introduce and establish Williams with a national audience she wasn't reaching with her syndicated talk show.
With The Wendy Williams Show, Williams has kept to her brand of guilty pleasure and celebrity gossip, forged so well with her radio show audience. So much so, that Williams has created some rifts between fellow TV personalities and celebrities.
At the top is possibly Sean "P Diddy" Combs, who Williams accused of trying to orchestrate her departure from New York City radio back in the early 1990s. Several hip-hop and R&B singers have accused Williams of tacky behavior, usually by gossiping about their private and personal lives. Many, including late rapper Tupac Shakur, retaliated by placing Williams into the lyrics of their songs - usually in some insulting or derogatory way.
- Williams is often seen drinking from a Wonder Woman cup or mug.
- Fans often cite the number of times Williams has cried or become teary-eyed on her program.
- Williams was a contestant on the 12th season of the popular TV show Dancing with the Stars. She was eliminated during the second week.
- Plays the recurring role of Phyllis Rose, a daytime talk show host, on the soap opera One Life to Live.
- A movie version of Williams' career was filmed in 2009. Robin Givens plays the talk show host.
- Besides "Radio Personality of the Year" from Billboard, Williams has won a number of other awards. Her show was considered "Most Guiltiest Pleasure" in 2009 from NewNowNext Awards and Williams was (tongue-in-cheekily) named "Woman of the Year" by comedy clip show The Soup