NEW YORK DAILY NEWS INTERVIEW WITH PAUL WILLIAMS
17TH JUNE 1998
Last Updated 24th September 1998
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The following is an an interview with Paul Williams, by Scott Williams of the New York Daily News, on 17th June 1998
70'S SONGWRITER MAKES SOBER COMEBACK
Since he got sober, Paul Williams is having the time of his life --Again.
"I feel like I'm living a second life," Williams, 57, said last week. He
had called to talk about how, on July 7, he becomes a regular on
CBS's soap "The Bold and the Beautiful" (1:30 p.m. weekdays,
Channel 10), playing a recovering alcoholic.
"I'm just happy not to be
playing an elf," the diminutive composer-singer-actor said, laughing.
"I'm delighted that my shoes aren't pointed and don't roll over on
Back in the '70s, Williams was an icon of Hollywood pop,
co-writing the classics "We've Only Just Begun" (click here for the lyrics of this song), "Rainy Days and
Mondays," (click here for the lyrics of this song), "An Old Fashioned Love Song" (click here for the lyrics of this song), "I Won't Last a Day
Without You" (click here for the lyrics of this song) and his Oscar-winning "Evergreen," (click here for the lyrics of this song) for the 1976
remake of "A Star Is Born."
He also had dozens of TV and movie roles. "I could find the cure for
cancer and you know what I'd be remembered for? Writing the 'Love
Boat' theme and playing Little Enos in the 'Smokey and the Bandit'
movies," he said. "I must have done three 'Love Boats,' and three or
four 'Fantasy Islands,' and it was very heady. I became better at
showing off than showing up," he said. "You know you're an
alcoholic when you misplace things -- like a decade".
"The best description of my career -- and my alcoholism -- is that in
the '70s, I was nominated for six Academy Awards and actually won
one. Then, in the '80s, I wrote the music for 'Ishtar.'"
"When I got sober in '89 and really looked at my life, I found that
because I'd been medicating so long, I had denied myself the chance
to really experience life," he said. Acting, singing and writing music
seemed impossible. "I didn't know if I could do any of these things
again. I was terrified. All I wanted to do was stay in rehab."
Williams went to UCLA and got himself certified as a drug and
alcohol rehabilitation counselor and worked as a volunteer. "I didn't
know whether I would ever act or write songs again," he said.
He tried. In '92 he wrote the songs for "A Muppet Christmas Carol.
"I was proud of the work, but the passion was not there," he said. "So
the deal was, I would write music again when I fell in love with it."
About two years ago, the love came back and he established his
second home on Nashville's Music Row. His latest effort, "You're
Gone," (click here for the lyrics of this song) co-written with Jon Vezner, is the title track on Diamond
Rio's new album.
Williams has two children from a previous marriage. "My son, Cole, is 17 and wants to be an actor. My daughter, Sarah, graduated from middle school yesterday and wants to be Mrs. Matt Damon," he said.
"The cartoon acting I did in so many of the films, well, I'm going to
have to live with that. But I look at some of my sober acting and I see
"It's weird, because I've got the star on Hollywood Boulevard and
the Oscar on my piano, but it's almost as if they belong to somebody
else. I get the credit, but I also get to be the new kid in town."
days, he said, "My compass is working a little better. I hit my knees
every morning and say, 'Use me as a tool today.' If God's doing that,
I'm having the time of my life."
(Thanks to Sarah for telling me about this interview.)
Email me, David Chamberlayne, at:
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