JoBeth Williams

Active - 1979 - 2019  |   Born - Dec 6, 1948 in Houston, Texas, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Comedy Drama

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Born December 6th, 1948,, JoBeth Williams launched her acting career on the East Coast repertory theater circuit. Williams made her Broadway bow in 1980's A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking and gained a TV following as a regular on the daytime serials The Guiding Light and Somerset. She made an impressible film debut in a "flash part" in the Oscar-winning Kramer vs. Kramer (1979). Williams' star ascended with such roles as the mother of long-suffering Heather O'Rourke in the first two Poltergeist films and the sixties activist-cum-housewife in The Big Chill (1983). While she hasn't always been well-served by Hollywood, she has managed to show up in a number of worthwhile assignments, ranging from 1984's Teachers (in which she spontaneously performing the most dramatically justifiable striptease in movie history) to 1994's Wyatt Earp (as Bessie Earp) Her TV-movie credits are even more impressive: she had several memorable moments in the post-apocalyptic The Day After (1983) and was brilliant as the anguished mother of the murdered title character in Adam (1983). She has also participated in series television, lending her voice to the character of Angel in the animated nighttimer Fish Police (1992) and essaying the Susan Sarandon role in the 1995 weekly TV adaptation of The Client. In addition, she served as executive producer of the 1991 TV movie Bump in the Night, and as co-producer of the Oscar-nominated documentary On Hope (1994). JoBeth Williams is married to director John Pasquin. In 2005 the actress worked with Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler for the baseball comedy Fever Pitch, and appeared in four episodes of Showtime's hit series Dexter in 2007. In 2011, Smart worked with Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black in the comedy The Big Year.

Movie Highlights

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  • 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.