1998 Biography of Paul Williams amazing career as a Singer, Songwriter, Soundtrack Composer, Actor and Humanitarian.

To learn lots more about Paul's career take a look at my Paul Williams Music and Acting Home Page

Last Updated 20th September

(When you click on the red/green below you will be taken to a page with more detailed information. If you click on the song titles mentioned, you will be taken to a list of Paul Williams' albums/singles/TV shows where that song appears)



Paul Williams has been lauded and awarded over the years by audiences and his peers alike as one of the most gifted and prolific lyricists and composers of his generation. This biography is adapted from one sent to me by Paul's agent Kelly Newby. I have divided it up into the five area of expertise in which Paul has made his mark.




In the summer of 1996 Paul recorded a brand new album for Pioneer Records in Japan entitled Back to Love Again. He was thrilled with the result

The project attracted such guest artists as Graham Nash who sang and played harmonica on the newly penned "The Prize" (click here for the lyrics of this song), and Richard Carpenter who joined Paul in a moving rendition of "I Won't Last A Day Without You" (click here for the lyrics of this song). Paul recorded a wonderful mix of new songs and classic hits. It was also an opportunity for Paul to team up again with producer Michael James Jackson ("Just An Old Fashioned Love Song" / "Life Goes On").

The reaction from both the critics and the fans was genuinely positive.

Elated and encouraged, Paul recorded a greatest hits record in the US during 1997/98. This album is part of a 'Songwriter' series that Jay Landers is overseeing for release in the spring of 1999.

As Mr. Landers said, "Paul Williams has always been a musical hero of mine and I am honored to have him participate in this series". Some of the other songwriting legends recording albums for this series included Jimmy Webb, Lieber and Stoller, Barry Mann, Lamont Dozier, and Kris Kistofferson. A major marketing and promotion campaign is planned.


As most people know, Paul has written some of the classic songs of our time. His songs have sold hundreds of millions of records worldwide. They include such standards as "We've Only Just Begun" (click here for the lyrics of this song), "Just An Old Fashioned Love Song" (click here for the lyrics of this song), "Rainy Days And Mondays" (click here for the lyrics of this song), "I Won't Last A Day Without You" (click here for the lyrics of this song), "You and Me Against The World" (click here for the lyrics of this song), "Evergreen" (click here for the lyrics of this song) and Three Dog Night's recordings of "Family of Man" (click here for the lyrics of this song) and "Out in the Country" (click here for the lyrics of this song).

His awards in the music arena range from ASCAP and BMI recognition for most performed songs, to Golden Globes, Grammys, and Academy Awards. Whilst Paul's songs have been recorded by many of the biggest names over the years (including Frank Sinatra singing 'Dream Away' on the album 'Ole Blue Eyes Is Back'), his newer songs are once again climbing the charts, as with Neil McCoy's single, 'Party On'. Billboard Magazine kicked off the release of 'Party On' with a review calling the song "a powerful and poignant ballad...brilliantly written." Several weeks later, Diamond Rio's recording of a Paul Williams/Jon Vezner song, (from Paul's latest album "Back to Love Again." ), called "You're Gone" (click here for the lyrics of this song), hit the charts running. The video was "Pick of the Week" on Country Music Television. Radio has readily embraced the song with John Boyle of KGRT proclaiming "It's the best song of the year".

Other songs written by Paul Williams have over recent years been recorded by Luther Vandross, Kenny Loggins, Cracker, Grant Lee Buffalo, Mathew Sweet and Barbra Streisand. Paul's company, Hillabeans Music (ASCAP), has signed a co-publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. He has been spending a lot of time on Music Row writing with Nashville's best.

In 1995 he was honored, along with Michael McDonald and Jimmy Webb, during Music City's Tin Pan South Music Festival at the famed Ryman Auditorium. He performed that evening, and continues to perform in concerts across the country. (Read an interview Paul did at time of the 1995 Ryman Auditorium concert in the Nashville Banner).


Paul's reputation as a motion picture composer took hold in 1973 with his first venture in that arena, "Nice To Be Around" (click here for the lyrics of this song) (co-written with John Williams ) from "Cinderella Liberty," which brought him his first Academy Award nomination. His second nomination came for the soundtrack of Phantom of the Paradise the Brian de Palma cult classic. He not only wrote the words and the music and produced the album for the rock cantata, but also starred as the diabolical Swan. Due to the continuing popularity of the film, a special edition laser disc, including interviews with de Palma and Williams, will be released later this year.

Music supervisor for " A Star Is Born," Paul Williams supplied the lyrics to melodies by three composers. Williams and Kenny Ascher won a Golden Globe Award for "Best Original Motion Picture Score." The bittersweet love song "Evergreen" (click here for the lyrics of this song) co-written with Barbra Streisand, garnered the 1976 Oscar for "Best Song of the Year."



In 1980, the Academy again nominated Williams for "Best Song," "The Rainbow Connection" (click here for the lyrics of this song), and for "Best Original Score" from the box office smash "Muppet Movie". In addition, "Muppet Movie" soundtrack won one of the two Grammy Awards for which it was nominated and went on to become the biggest soundtrack album of the year, exceeding sales of one million units.

Paul co-wrote the title song for "The Secret Of Nimh" which he also performed. Musically, among his other film credits are "The End," "RockyIV," and "Ishtar" (My hardest job ever was probably to write the good 'bad' songs required for this"). Paul also wrote the songs and score for the film "Bugsy Malone" which starred Jodie Foster and Scott Baio and was directed by Alan Parker. In the last several years, The National Youth Musical Theater in London has produced several successful stage productions of "Bugsy Malone".

The show received a wonderful reception at the Edinburgh Festival in 1996, was part of the Hammersmith Festival in May of 1997, and will opened at the Queens Theater on London's West End in November 1997. A new cast album will be recorded and released on That's Entertainment Records. The show is also produced at stock and amateur theaters around the world. (This show also had songs which were written for Bugsy Malone but which did not make it into the film. Read more about this National Youth Musical Theater production here)

Paul re-united with Henson Productions in 1992 for the Disney feature film "The Muppet Christmas Carol". He wrote and produced the songs for the soundtrack on Henson Records, distributed by BMG, which garnered him yet another Grammy nomination for Best Musical Album for Children.


Having begun his career as an actor, Paul rarely misses an opportunity to return to those early roots.

On 7th July 1998 an exciting new chapter begun in Paul's diverse career and he is having the time of his life. In the same week that a song he had co-written blasted onto the Country Music charts, Paul joined the cast of the CBS daytime drama "The Bold And The Beautiful". He portrays Bailey (a recovering alcoholic), the executive assistant to a wealthy and influential motivational speaker.

In 1995 Paul starred as a wheelchair bound hostage in the hard hitting black comedy "Headless Body in a Topless Bar" for which he received stellar reviews. His performance was called "standout" and "sterling" by Variety. Bill Hoffman wrote, "The most intriguing performance comes from pop songwriter Paul Williams who is eerily convincing as a depressed MS victim who ends up a hero".

On the small screen, he has been noted for his recent performances in "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids", "Picket Fences", "Dream On", "Boston Common", "Walker, Texas Ranger", and HBO's new series, "Perversions of Science". He will soon be seen in Jeffrey Jackson's independent film, -The Postal Worker".

Williams became well known to film audiences for his hilarious portrayal of Little Enos in "Smoky and the Bandit" Parts One, Two and Three. He is also remembered for his roles in Oliver Stone's "The Doors", "People like Us," the NBC mini-series based, on the Dominick Dunne bestseller, and the acclaimed PBS productions "Frog" and "Frog II". Few people know that Paul is the voice of the Penguin on the animated "Batman" television series, and is also a regular on the animated series "Phantom 2040" and "Hey, Arnold."


Paul is very active on the speakers' circuit across the country. (See a list of Pauls future speeking engagements by clicking here) He shares stories from his life and career interspersed with some of the classic songs he has written. Actively involved in the Musician's Assistance Programme and other non-profit rehabilitation organizations.


He also lectures frequently for such prestigious groups as Los Angeles juvenile court judges, SOAR (Society of Americans for Recovery), the National Corporation for Substance Abuse Recovery, several Councils on Alcoholism and many others from coast to coast. He has appeared on "Geraldo Rivera" and "Primetime Live" talking about the devastating effects of drugs and alcohol, and the rising use of drugs among the nation's young. He has been presented with the Global Arts Award by the Friendly House for his extensive efforts on their behalf, and the Spirit of Youth Award from the Pacific Boys' Lodge for his humanitarian efforts and contributions.

Paul is the proud father of a son and a daughter from his first marriage.

 (Thanks to Paul Williams agent, Kelly Newby, for providing me with the above information)

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