‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ Producer, Actor Samm-Art Williams Dies

Tue May 14 2024
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WASHINGTON: Playwright, actor, and director Samm-Art Williams, who earned a Tony nomination, has passed away at the age of 78.

His death was confirmed by his cousin Carol Brown to The Hollywood Reporter.

In a statement, Brown expressed that while Mr. Williams’ impactful contributions to American theater and television will endure, his absence will be deeply felt. Williams gained fame for his Tony-nominated play “Home,” directed by Douglas Turner Ward and produced on Broadway by the Negro Ensemble Company in 1980. This acclaimed production is set to return to Broadway on June 5, under the direction of Kenny Leon.

Williams received accolades for “Home,” including an Outer Critics Circle Award, a Drama Desk nomination, an NAACP Image Award, and a North Carolina Governor’s Award. His literary repertoire expanded with works like “Welcome to Black River,” “Friends,” and other plays staged in New York, Los Angeles, and beyond. However, Williams also served as an executive producer on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” starring Will Smith.

Throughout his career, Williams received prestigious honours such as the Guggenheim Fellowship, The National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Playwriting, and various other writing awards. His accomplishments extended to television, earning him two Emmy nominations as a producer for “Frank’s Place” in 1988 and “Motown Returns to the Apollo” in 1985.

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