The diminutive, bespectacled singer, songwriter and actor created some of pop music’s 1970s blockbusters while navigating a twisting career.
Williams moved to Long Beach as a teenager and acted in a repertory company there, moving into film with a role in 1965’s “The Loved One.” He wrote comedy material for Mort Sahl and collaborated with Biff Rose on “Fill Your Heart.” The song was recorded by Tiny Tim, leading to a record deal with Warner Bros. and later a staff writer position at A&M.
With composer Roger Nichols, he wrote “Out in the Country” for Three Dog Night, then a tune for a bank commercial that became a huge hit for the Carpenters: "We've Only Just Begun.” In 1974 he scored and starred in Brian DePalma’s film musical “Phantom of the Paradise,” and he won an Oscar, a Grammy and a Golden Globe for “Evergreen” from the 1976 Barbra Streisand film “A Star Is Born.”
He also was a high-profile celebrity, appearing on a range of TV shows including “The Tonight Show,” “The Love Boat” and “Fantasy Island.” In 1989 he gained control of his drug and alcohol addictions and became a licensed drug rehabilitation counselor. In 1997 he released his first new studio album in nearly 20 years. He continued to write country hits and stage musicals while acting on the network daytime drama “The Bold and the Beautiful.”
|1973||Best Song||"Nice to Be Around" from Cinderella Liberty||Nomination*|
|1974||Best Original Song Score and/or Adaptation||Phantom of the Paradise||Nomination*|
|1976||Best Original Song||"Evergreen" from A Star Is Born||Win*|
|1976||Best Original Song Score and/or Adaptation||Bugsy Malone||Nomination|
|1979||Best Original Song Score and/or Adaptation||The Muppet Movie||Nomination*|
|1979||Best Original Song||"The Rainbow Connection" from The Muppet Movie||Nomination*|