Kellie Shanygne Williams, also known as Kellie Shanygne Jackson, is an American actress best known for playing one of the main roles as Laura Lee Winslow in the hugely popular sitcom titled ‘Family Matters.’ She was born and raised in Washington D.C. and was a very shy kid. She was turning into an awkward kid when her father enrolled her into acting classes when she was 4 years old. She began modelling at the age 6 and modelled for children’s costumes. Around the same time, Kellie began acting in theatrical plays along with commercial advertisements. She was in high school when she sent her audition tape to the producers of ‘Family Matters.’ She was selected to play Laura Lee in the sitcom and the huge critical and commercial success of the sitcom turned her into an overnight star. While appearing in ‘Family Matters,’ she also appeared playing small roles in series’ such as ‘ABC TGIF’ and ‘Oddville, MTV.’ However, despite a very good beginning, her acting career never quite took off the way she intended. In the 2000s, she appeared in a handful of television series’ such as ‘Eve’ and ‘The Parkers,’ without having any significant breakthrough.
Childhood & Early Life
Kellie Shanygne Williams was born on March 22, 1976, in Washington D.C., to Patricia and Ervin Williams. Her mother worked for the Jet Magazine as a journalist while her father was a manager at a telephone company. She grew up as the oldest child among three and had two younger siblings- a brother and a sister.
Kellie grew up as a very introvert kid, which somehow hindered with her performance in school. In order to make her more confident, her father enrolled her into acting classes. By then, a career in acting for her was not even in the mind of Kellie or her father.
But enrolling her into acting classes did the job pretty well. Kellie began opening up in the classrooms and also sang and dance. However, due to that she had also found an interest in acting and at a young age, she somehow made up her mind about pursuing acting.
She began working as a runway model when she was 6 years old. She modelled for children’s clothes and eventually began appearing in commercial advertisements as well. She also began acting on-stage when she was 6 years old and the first play that she did as an actor was titled ‘Cousins.’
Kellie also signed with an agent in the same year and started working more as a model and an actor. She further travelled to countries such as Bahamas and Ireland for the outdoor shows of plays such as ‘Goin’ Home’ and ‘Birthday Celebration.’
She was in school when her agent told about an audition for ‘Family Matters’ and urged Kellie to send a tape. She did and that changed her life.
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While she was still in school, she had made brief appearances in feature films such as ‘Men Don’t Leave’ and ‘Suspect.’ During that time, she was in school and she had no intentions of dropping out.
However, it changed in 1989 when she sent her audition tape to the makers of the sitcom titled ‘Family Matters,’ on the agent’s advice. The producers liked the tapes and asked her to come down to Los Angeles for a face to face audition. Dropping out of school was not an easy choice but Kellie went ahead with it in favour of her acting career. She was selected to play one of the lead roles in the series.
The sitcom ‘Family Matters’ began airing in September 1989 and featured an all-black cast playing the show’s leading Winslow family. Ever since it began airing, the series received a huge critical and commercial acclaim and overtime became one of the longest running American sitcoms of all times.
Kellie played the role of Laura Lee Winslow in the series, who happens to be the middle child of Carl and Harriette Winslow. The series ran for a total of 9 seasons and 215 episodes, with Kellie appearing in all the episodes.
She had a massively successful beginning to her acting career, but the same could not be said for her later career. While she starred in ‘Family Matters,’ she reprised the character of Laura in the show titled ‘ABC TGIF’ in 1993. She further made a single episode long appearance on the series titled ‘Oddville, MTV.’
She made her film debut playing a supporting role in the 1998 film titled ‘Ride’ and played Tuesday. The film turned out to be a moderate critical and commercial success.
In 1996 and 1998, she appeared playing a minor role as Charisse in two episodes of the television series titled ‘Moesha.’ She followed it in the late 1990s with a supporting role as Katie in the television film titled ‘After All.’
In 2000, she played one of the lead roles as Alice Adams in the sitcom titled ‘What About Joan?’ She reprised her role in all 21 episodes of the series which was a huge critical and commercial disaster. Following this failure, her acting career somehow struggled very hard to stand on a firm ground.
In 2002, she appeared playing a small guest role as Cecily in the episode titled ‘Handling Baggage’ of the series titled ‘Girlfriends.’ In the next year, she appeared playing a single episode long role as Michelle in the television series titled ‘The Parkers.’
In 2005, she further appeared playing a supporting role in the comedy drama film titled ‘In the Mix,’ playing Cami.
In 2006, she appeared playing a supporting role as Lynn in the television series titled ‘Eve.’
in 2009, she appeared playing a supporting role as Cee Cee in the film ‘Steppin: The Movie.’ She followed it with a key role as Dedra in the short film titled ‘Aide-de-camp.’
Family & Personal Life
Kellie Shanygne Williams met Hannibal Jackson in 2007, through a mutual friend. They began dating right away and following a 2 years relationship, they got married in 2009 at African Methodist Episcopal Church, located in Fort Washington, Maryland.
The couple has two children together- a son named John Ervin Jackson and a daughter Hannah Belle Jackson.
Kellie has mentioned publicly that although she had left school in favour of her acting career, she sometimes regrets her decision.