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Tonya Lee Williams JPI LARGE

Tonya Lee Williams

Role Olivia, Y&R


The 411


BIRTHPLACE: London, England


YEARS ON SHOW: 1992 to present


Tonya Lee Williams was born in London, England. She lived there and Kingston, Jamaica, as a young child, before settling in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada with her family in 1969.

She began modeling in Eaton’s catalogues as a teenager and, later, danced on the television series, Boogie. Upon graduating from Ryerson University in 1979, she landed the gig of host on the Canadian children’s show, POLKA DOT DOOR. From there, things quickly began taking off for William, as she landed a myriad of TV guest spots and the recurring role of Linda on GENERATIONS opposite Kristoff St. John (ex-Adam; Neil, Y&R). The gig eventually helped her snare the role of Dr. Olivia Barber on YOUNG AND RESTLESS, where, once again, she was working with St. John.

In addition to her acting career, Williams has also thrived as a writer, producer and director on the television series DA KINK IN MY HAIR and TONYA LEE WILLIAMS: GOSPEL JIBILEE She also founded and is president of the ReelWorld Film Festival, an annual event held in Toronto that features talent from diverse visible communities.

Williams, who is divorced, divides her time between Los Angeles and Canada. Her official Web site is

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Random facts

  • Williams was born Tonya Maxine Williams.
  • She was crowned Miss Black Ontario in 1977.
  • Was a former model for Eaton's catalogues.
  • Regularly appeared on the 1970's dance show, BOOGIE.
  • Williams won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series in 2000 and 2002.

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