Biography

Though she worked consistently throughout the 1990s, Kimberly Williams made her biggest impression on movie audiences as the sweet ingenue in the remake of Father of the Bride (1991). Raised in New York, Williams began acting in commercials as a teenager. During her second year at Northwestern University, Williams got her feature film break when she was cast as protective father Steve Martin's soon-to-be-married daughter Annie in the (slightly) modernized version of the popular 1950s comedy Father of the Bride. Though the movie became a hit, Williams chose to finish college rather than head immediately to Hollywood, appearing only in the gentle nostalgia piece Indian Summer (1993) before she earned her degree. After school, Williams reunited with screen parents Martin and Diane Keaton to play the now-expectant mother Annie in the genial sequel Father of the Bride II (1995). Moving beyond gentle, crowd-pleasing comedy, Williams co-starred with TV heartthrob Jason Priestly in the hit man black comedy Coldblooded (1995); played Emilio Estevez's sister in the Vietnam drama The War at Home (1996); and appeared in the TV version of the Neil Simon play Jake's Women (1995). Williams' doe-eyed earnestness also won over a cadre of fans when she was cast as the female lead in the Edward Zwick-Marshall Herskovitz series Relativity in 1996, but the critically acclaimed show lasted only one season. Along with acting in Broadway and off-Broadway plays in the late '90s, Williams also played the young Sharon Stone in the film version of Sam Shepard's Simpatico (1999); joined the ensemble cast of the romantic comedy Just a Little Harmless Sex (1999); and starred as a contemporary young woman transported to fairy tale land in the splashy NBC miniseries The 10th Kingdom (2000). That assignment seemed prophetic in retrospect, for Williams subsequently gravitated toward television projects and away from the big screen; she played Dana, sister-in-law of the titular suburbanite (Jim Belushi) on the popular ABC sitcom According to Jim (2001), and also began accepting leads in longform features. The majority of these projects constituted sentimental, family-friendly melodramas, such as the 2001 Follow the Stars Home (with Williams as a young woman deserted by her husband after she gives birth to a deformed baby) and the 2002 outing The Christmas Shoes (as a mother dying of congenital heart failure). Also in 2002, Williams turned up in Rodrigo Garcia's drama Ten Tiny Love Stories, as one of several characters who deliver heartfelt monologues on their romantic lives. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi