(Topic: Substance Abuse) A gifted lyricist and composer, singer, and actor, Paul Williams has written some of the most cherished songs of our time, including "We've Only Just Begun", "Rainy Days and Mondays" and "Evergreen". Sharing his own story of recovery and addiction, Williams talks to audiences across the country about the devastating effects of drugs and alcohol and the rising use of drugs by the young. He is a licensed drug rehabilitation counselor, a field he is interested in, and passionate about.
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Paul Williams has been lauded and awarded over the years by audiences and his peers alike, not only as one of the most gifted and prolific lyricists and composers, but also as a singer, an actor and a humanitarian.
Williams has written some of the classic songs of our time, including "We've Only Just Begun," "Rainy Days and Mondays," "Evergreen," "Just An Old Fashioned Love Song," and "The Rainbow Connection." His songs, including the standards "You and Me Against the World" and Three Dog Night's recordings of "Family of Man" and "Out In The Country," have sold hundreds of millions of records worldwide and have won numerous awards in the music arena. He has been honored by nominations for the Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy Award and has, in fact, won all three.
Having begun his career as an actor, Williams rarely misses an opportunity to return to those early roots. He became well known to film audiences for his hilarious portrayal of Little Enos in "Smokey and the Bandit" parts one, two and three. He is also remembered for his roles in Oliver Stone's "The Doors," the NBC mini-series "People Like Us," based on the Dominick Dunne bestseller, and the acclaimed PBS productions "Frog" and "Frog II." Few people know that Williams is the voice of the Penguin on the animated "Batman" television series, and is also a regular on the animated series "Phantom 2040" and "Hey, Arnold."
Williams' reputation as a motion picture composer took hold in 1973 with his first venture in that arena, "Nice to Be Around" (co-written with John Williams) from "Cinderella Liberty," which brought him his first Academy Award nomination. His second nomination came for the soundtrack of "Phantom in Paradise," the Brian de Palma cult classic. He not only wrote the words and the music and produced the album for the rock cantata, but also starred as the diabolical Swan. Music supervisor for "A Star is Born," Williams supplied the lyrics to melodies by three composers. Williams and Kenny Ascher won a Golden Globe Award for "Best Original Motion Picture Score." The bittersweet love song "Evergreen," co-written with Barbra Streisand, garnered the 1976 Oscar for "Best Song of the Year." In 1980, the Academy again nominated Williams for "Best Song," "The Rainbow Connection," and for "Best Original Score" from the box office smash "The Muppet Movie." In addition, "The Muppet Movie" soundtrack won one of the two Grammy Awards for which it was nominated. Williams reunited with Henson Productions in 1992 for the Disney feature film "The Muppet Christmas Carol." He wrote and produced the songs for the soundtrack on Henson Records, and received yet another Grammy nomination for "Best Musical Album for Children."
Active on the speakers circuit, Williams shares stories from his life and career, interspersed with some of the classic songs he has written. Actively involved in the Musician's Assistance Program and other non-profit rehabilitation organizations, he also lectures frequently for such prestigious groups as Los Angeles juvenile court judges, SOAR (Society of Americans for Recovery), the National Corporation for Substance Abuse Recovery, local chapters of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency, and others from coast to coast. He has appeared on TNN's "Primetime Country," "Geraldo Rivera," and "Primetime Live," talking about the devastating effects of drugs and alcohol, and the rising use of drugs among the nation's young. He has been presented with the Global Arts Award by the Friendly House for his extensive efforts on their behalf, and the Spirit of Youth Award from the Pacific Boys' Lodge for his humanitarian efforts and contributions. As a member of the board of the highly regarded and enormously influential National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency, Williams not only speaks from and of his own experiences, but from the education and knowledge he gained through his studies and certification from UCLA as a licensed drug rehabilitation counselor, a field he is not only active in, but passionate about.