Born on July 3, 1956, in Baltimore, Maryland, Montel Brian Hank Williams is one of a set of triplets. After graduating high school in 1974, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in his hometown where his father, Herman Wiliiams, Jr., served as fire chief. He became what is known as a “mustang” (an enlisted service member who becomes an officer). After six months of service, he was promoted twice, and in 1975 he became the first black Marine selected to the Naval academy Preparatory School. Upon graduation, one year later, he received a presidential appointment to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. While there, he studied Mandarin Chinese and graduated in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science in General Engineering. He served on board the USS Sampson during the US invasion of Grenada and he was the recipient of many honorary awards before he retired after 22 years of service.
His trademark shaved head first appeared in 1982, and he began hosting his own talk show, “The Montel Williams Show,” in 1991. In May of 2004, during an episode, he revealed that he had considered committing suicide as an alternative to the pain he had been suffering from Multiple Schlerosis, which was diagnosed in 1999. He met his second wife, Grace, when she and her mother appeared as guests on his show. They have two children (a boy and a girl) and are currently separated. He also has two daughters from his union with his first wife, Rochele See, whom he met while stationed in Guam.
Montel Williams has been nominated for three Daytime Emmy Awards: “Outstanding Talk Show” in 2001 and 2002, and “Outstanding Talk Show Host” in 2002. His show continues to be an important asset to daytime programming, focusing on relevant and thought-provoking topics that concern us all.
Shine on, Montel! Shine on!