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JoBeth Williams (born December 6, 1948) is an American television and film actress and director, and current President of the Screen Actors Guild Foundation.

Early life

Williams was born as Margaret JoBeth Williams in Houstonmarker, Texasmarker, the daughter of Frances Faye (née Adams), a dietitian, and Fredric Roger Williams, an opera singer and manager of a wire and cable company. She attended Brown Universitymarker in Providence, Rhode Islandmarker intending to become a child psychologist. Instead, she turned to theater, training with Jim Barnhill and John Emigh as well as at the Trinity Repertory Companymarker, taking voice lessons to help lose her "Texas twang" accent. Following this, she moved to New York Citymarker and began to appear in television series in the mid-1970s.


Williams' first television role was on the Bostonmarker-produced first-run syndicated children's television series Jabberwocky, which debuted in 1974. Her character was named, appropriately enough, JoBeth. She joined the "Jabberwocky" cast in season two, replacing the original hostess, Joanne Sopko. The series ran until 1978. She was a regular on two soap operas, playing Carrie Wheeler on Somerset and Brandi Sheloo on Guiding Light. Williams' feature film debut came in 1979's Kramer vs. Kramer as a girlfriend of Dustin Hoffman's character, memorably quizzed by his son after being discovered walking nude to the bathroom.

She is perhaps most recognized for her roles in Stir Crazy (1980) with Gene Wilder and Poltergeist (1982) as suburban housewife Diane Freeling (she reprised her character in the sequel, Poltergeist II: The Other Side, 1986). A year later she was part of the ensemble comedy-drama The Big Chill (1983). This led to her only major starring role in a studio feature film, American Dreamer (1984), opposite Tom Conti.

Williams continued with a number of performances in notable television movies, including the nuclear holocaust film The Day After (1983), Murder Ordained (1987), and My Name is Bill W. (1989). She earned Emmy nominations for starring as real-life characters Reve Walsh (the wife of John Walsh) in the film Adam (1983) and Mary Beth Whitehead in Baby M (1988). She also had an Emmy-nominated guest starring role on Frasier and played Reggie Love in the short-lived TV version of the film The Client.

In 1995 she was nominated for an Academy Award for her 1994 live-action short, On Hope. It was her debut as a director. She appeared on an episode of 24 as Christopher Henderson (Peter Weller)'s wife, Miriam, who literally takes a (non-fatal) bullet for her husband.

She appeared in one episode of the 1998 TV mini-series From the Earth to the Moon as Marge Slayton, the wife of Deke Slayton. The episode is part 11 of the series and titled 'The Original Wives Club.'

She directed the 1994 short film, On Hope, starring Annette O'Toole, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award.

She was elected President of the non-profit SAG Foundation in April 2008.

Personal life

She is married to TV and film director John Pasquin (with whom she worked on Jungle 2 Jungle); they have two children.



  1. JoBeth Williams Biography (1948?-)

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