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Also Known As: Margaret Jobeth Williams Died:
Born: December 6, 1948 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Houston, Texas, USA Profession: actor, director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Working steadily for decades in a wide variety of mediums, JoBeth Williams successfully transitioned from effervescent leading lady to mature actress with a lengthy résumé of consistently strong performances. Possibly best remembered for her breakout portrayal of a terrified suburban housewife in the supernatural horror film "Poltergeist" (1982), Williams played Diane Freeling with a conviction and authenticity that kept audiences on the edge of their seats. On the heels of that success was the ensemble drama "The Big Chill" (1983), in which Williams' character, unhappy with her current marriage, considers rekindling a relationship with her old flame during a weekend reunion with college friends. Considered a classic by a generation, the film marked the directorial debut of writer Lawrence Kasdan, and allowed Williams to act alongside some of the brightest stars in film at that time. Williams made her mark on television, with roles in TV-movies like the Cold-War cautionary tale "The Day After" (1983), and in "Adam" (NBC, 1983), in which she portrayed the anguished mother of a missing child. She also impressed with her initial outing as a director with "On Hope" (Showtime, 1994), which was nominated...

Working steadily for decades in a wide variety of mediums, JoBeth Williams successfully transitioned from effervescent leading lady to mature actress with a lengthy résumé of consistently strong performances. Possibly best remembered for her breakout portrayal of a terrified suburban housewife in the supernatural horror film "Poltergeist" (1982), Williams played Diane Freeling with a conviction and authenticity that kept audiences on the edge of their seats. On the heels of that success was the ensemble drama "The Big Chill" (1983), in which Williams' character, unhappy with her current marriage, considers rekindling a relationship with her old flame during a weekend reunion with college friends. Considered a classic by a generation, the film marked the directorial debut of writer Lawrence Kasdan, and allowed Williams to act alongside some of the brightest stars in film at that time. Williams made her mark on television, with roles in TV-movies like the Cold-War cautionary tale "The Day After" (1983), and in "Adam" (NBC, 1983), in which she portrayed the anguished mother of a missing child. She also impressed with her initial outing as a director with "On Hope" (Showtime, 1994), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Short Film. Following her appearance with Nick Nolte in Arthur Hiller's black comedy, "Teachers" (1984), there were fewer headlining roles in feature projects, and more work on television series such as "Dexter" (Showtime, 2006- ). Williams soon settled into a steady career pattern, frequently playing mother figures in smaller films like "In the Land of Women" (2007), making Williams one of the few women of a certain age who successfully segued into a respected character actress after enjoying a high-profile leading lady career in her prime.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Frankie and Hazel (2000) Director
2.
  On Hope (1994) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 In My Dreams (2014)
2.
 Big Year, The (2011)
4.
 TiMER (2009)
5.
 Uncorked (2009)
6.
 Sybil (2008)
7.
8.
 crazylove (2006)
9.
 Fever Pitch (2005) Cast
10.
 Into the Fire (2005) Cast
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Joined Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, RI after graduating from college
1974:
TV debut in "Theater in America" presentation of Trinity Square Repertory's production "Feasting With Panthers"
1975:
Had regular role of Carrie Wheeler on the NBC serial "Somerset" (NBC)
1977:
Played regular role of Brandy on "Guiding Light" (CBS)
1979:
Film acting debut in small role in "Kramer vs. Kramer"
1980:
Broadway debut as a replacement in "Moonchildren," co-starring Kevin Kline
1982:
Played leading role in the supernatural thriller "Poltergeist"
1983:
Co-starred in the ensemble drama "The Big Chill," featuring Kline and Tom Berenger
1983:
Played Reve Walsh, the mother of a child who was abducted, in the NBC drama "Adam"; earned Emmy nomination
1983:
Acted in the controversial ABC drama "The Day After"
1986:
Reprised role in "Poltergeist II: The Other Side"
1986:
Again played Reve Walsh in the sequel "Adam: His Song Continues" (NBC)
1987:
Co-starred in the TV-movie "Murder Ordained" (CBS)
1988:
Portrayed Mary Beth Whitehead in the fact-based drama "Baby M" (ABC); received second Emmy nomination
1988:
Reportedly turned down the lead role on the CBS sitcom "Murphy Brown," which Diane English created with her in mind
1989:
Co-starred in "My Name Is Bill W" (CBS)
1991:
Landed featured roles in "Switch" and "Dutch"
1994:
Made directorial debut with "On Hope"; earned 1994 Oscar nomination for Best Live Action Short Film
1994:
Portrayed Bessie Earp in "Wyatt Earp"
1995:
Garnered third Emmy nomination for a guest appearance on "Frasier" (NBC)
:
Starred in TV series "John Grisham's 'The Client'"
1997:
Directed by husband John Paquin in "Jungle2Jungle"
1998:
Portrayed astronaut wife Marge Slayton in "From the Earth to the Moon" (HBO)
1999:
Returned to series TV as co-star of "Payne" (CBS), a short-lived Americanization of "Fawlty Towers" starring John Larroquette
2000:
Co-starred in the ABC movie "Trapped in a Purple Haze"
2000:
Directed the Showtime movie "Frankie and Hazel"
2001:
Acted in "The Ponder Heart" (PBS)
2005:
Co-starred with Sean Patrick Flanery and Melina Kanakaredes in Michael Phelan's "Into the Fire"
2006:
Joined the cast of Fox's drama "24" in season five
2007:
Guest starred on four episodes of Showtime's serial-killer drama "Dexter"
2009:
Guest starred on several episodes of ABC's "Private Practice"
2011:
Cast in the comedy feature "The Big Year" opposite Owen Wilson, Jack Black, and Steve Martin
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Brown University: Providence , Rhode Island - 1970

Notes

Williams has publicly discussed her attempts to become pregnant. After four miscarriages, she and her husband decided to adopt.

"I think women are particularly well-equipped. They tend to be more aware of people's feelings, what's going on around them . . . Particularly as a mother--I run a household, I raise two children, I want to get these guys to do what I need them to do in a way where they'll be happy. And that's a tremendous amount of directing skill." --Williams on her directorial debut in Los Angeles Times Calendar, September 26, 1995.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Kevin Kline. Actor. Dated briefly.
husband:
John Pasquin. Director; producer. Born c. 1945; met c. 1970; married in 1982; producer-director of the TV sitcom hit "Home Improvement"; director of the popular comedy feature "The Santa Clause"; previously married.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Roger Williams. Wire company manager. Died in 1978.
mother:
Frances Faye Williams. Dietitian.
step-daughter:
Sarah Pasquin. Born c. 1967; Pasquin's daughter from his first marriage.
son:
Will Pasquin. Born in 1987; adopted; adoptive father John Pasquin.
son:
Nick Pasquin. Born in 1990; adopted; adoptive father John Pasquin.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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