Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe winning songwriter Paul Williams is recognized as one of America’s most prolific and gifted lyricists and composers. A ‘Hall of Fame’ songwriter and recipient of the 2004 National Music Publishers President’s Award, Williams’ standards have been recorded by such diverse musical icons as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, David Bowie, Tony Bennett, R.E.M., Sarah Vaughn, Johnny Mathis, Bing Crosby, The Carpenters, Luther Vandross, Mel Torme and Diana Ross. His songs have also found favor with country legends including Chet Atkins, Garth Brooks, The Dixie Chicks, and Kris Kristofferson.
“The Rainbow Connection,” from the children’s classic The Muppet Movie, is one of two Williams songs that grace the American Film Institute’s list of the top movie songs of all time, the second, “Evergreen,” is from the award winning Streisand/Kristofferson remake of A Star is Born. Additional song scores include the cult favorites Phantom of the Paradise and Ishtar, as well as The Muppet Christmas Carol and Bugsy Malone. Williams also penned the lyrics for the blockbuster hit The Sum of All Fears. For the season finale of Ally McBeal, Williams offered the touching “I Know Him By Heart,” recorded by Vonda Shepard. He recently teamed up with legendary songwriter Carole King to write the title song “Stand Back,” sung by Joan Osborne, for Raising Helen. Williams just completed words and music for the Garry Marshall musical Happy Days, opening this summer at Connecticut’s famed Goodspeed Theatre before beginning a national tour.
Although most people came to know the witty Williams as one of Johnny Carson’s recurring favorites on The Tonight Show, or as an actor in dozens of films, television comedies and dramas, it is his musical legacy that continues to inspire. “We’ve Only Just Begun,” “Rainy Days and Mondays,” “You and Me Against the World,” “An Old Fashioned Love Song” and “Let Me Be The One” all remain pop classics and are featured on the release Evergreens: The Very Best of the A&M Years. Contemporary arrangements of some of these favorites were also recorded in Japan and released on the CD Love Wants To Dance, a clear indication of the global appreciation for his work.
In 2006, AIX DVD Audio/Video disc featured I’m Going Back There Some Day, featuring Williams and special guests Willie Nelson, Melissa Manchester and Gonzo the Muppet. The full-featured DVD includes stereo and 5.1 surround recordings of some of William’s favorite songs, complete video of the sessions, interviews, and concert footage of recent performances.
Williams has since performed his classics in venues from New York to Los Angeles. The year 2007 began with a role in the new Jane Fonda and Lindsay Lohan film, Georgia Rule and a quick tour of the Philippines where he performed before a crowd of 8,000 loyal fans in Manila. In 2007, he released an important new album New Music from an Old Friend. Other recent collaborations include a duet with Jason Mraz and songs recorded by and co- written with The Scissor Sisters.
As a part of America’s large recovering community, Williams is also a very active speaker. Sharing stories of his own escape from addiction, he says, "You know you’re an alcoholic when you misplace a decade." Sober 17 years, his humorous observations of his own life experiences are augmented by the education and knowledge he gained through his studies and certification from UCLA as a Certified Drug Rehabilitation Counselor.
Privately a devoted father, and publicly lauded for his work as a songwriter, performer, actor and humanitarian, he predicts he’ll be remembered for playing ”Little Enos” in the Smokey and the Bandit trilogy and for his lyrics to “The Love Boat” theme.