Tyler James Williams is an American actor, musician, film director, music video director and hip hop record artist. To add to his profile, he is also a trained martial artist. The actor has been in the industry for over two decades. He shot to fame with the hilarious role of Chris on the show, ‘Everybody Hates Chris’, where he possessed a bunch of sundry character traits. Progressing over the years, he took up challenges not only in front of the camera but also behind it as a director. By voicing ‘Firestorm’ in the animated series ‘Batman – The Brave and the Bold’, he added another feather to his bonnet. He has been nominated for several awards over the past years, and won his first award at fourteen. Blessed with music and vocal skills, he dazzled the audience with his performance in the Disney movie ‘Let it Shine’. At a young age he has played challenging roles such as Noah in ‘The Walking Dead’ and is presently playing the character, Russ Montgomery in the police crime drama ‘Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders’.
Childhood & Early life
Tyler Williams was born on 9th October, 1992 at Westchester County in New York. He was the first born to Angela and Le’Roy Williams. He probably inherited his musical traits from his mother, as she was a singer and songwriter.
His father, on the other hand, was a police sergeant. He grew up in his hometown alongside his younger brothers, Tyrel Jackson Williams and Tylen Jacob Williams. All three brothers later went on to become actors.
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At four, he starred for the first time on television as a voice actor in the show ‘Little Bill’ portraying the character ‘Bobby’. He went on to replace Devon Malik Beckford in 2000 for a short period as the character.
From 2000 to 2005, Tyler portrayed his own character in the children’s television series ‘Sesame Street’. As a young performer, his work was acclaimed and following his recurring role in the television show, he was offered the lead role in the series ‘Everybody Hates Chris’.
Tyler's Breakthrough & TV Success
He gained recognition with ‘Everybody Hates Chris’. The show ran from 2005 to 2009 and spanned 88 episodes. He developed as a performer on the show, making it his first ground breaking performance in a television series.
In 2006, he voiced a blue teammate in the movie ‘The Ant Bully’. After the last season of ‘Everybody Hates Chris’ in 2009, he landed guest roles in the TV series ‘The Cleaner’ and ‘True Jackson, VP’.
He played Charles Goldfinch or Charlie in the 2006 Christmas comedy film ‘Unaccomplished Minors’ also known as ‘Grounded’ in the UK and Ireland. Even though the movie didn’t do too well, his performance in the film was noticed.
In 2010, He became a thorough voice actor with his stint in ‘Batman: The Brave and the Bold’. In 2012, his television film ‘Let It Shine’ became a major hit. Not only did he put on a stellar performance, but he also put his music skills to use in the musical drama.
The movie received great reviews from the media and critics. Hence, he landed himself another main role in the sitcom ‘Go On’ as Owen Lewis and guest starred in ‘Lab Rats’ with his younger brother Tyrel Jackson in the main cast.
The year 2013 saw him playing the role of Simon Peeples in Tina Gordon Chism’s American comedy film ‘Peeples’. The movie grossed over 9.3 million at the box office.
In 2014, he acted in Justin Simien’s satirical comedy film ‘Dear White People’. He was signed as the lead in the film. The film was based on racial issues and discrimination from the perspective of Afro-Americans. It did well at the box office, grossing over 4.6 million.
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In 2014, he also acted as ‘Noah’ in a recurring role in AMC’s hit horror drama ‘The Walking Dead’. His role spanned ten episodes in the 5th season of the show.
In 2016, he auditioned and bagged the main role of ‘Russ Montgomery’ popularly referred to as ‘Monty’ in the police-crime series, ‘Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders’. The show ran for one season spilling over thirteen episodes. Presently, he is working on the show’s sets for the second season.
His best performance has undoubtedly been the memorable character Chris in the show ‘Everybody Hates Chris’. It was listed amongst America’s top 10 television series in 2007 by the ‘American Film Institute’. It was ranked a four star show by ‘Common Sense Media’ the following year.
His 2012 television film, ‘Let It Shine’ received great reviews. The soundtrack comprising of Tyler’s compositions was a hit and peaked on several music charts. It comprised of 13 soundtracks and topped the US Billboard Kid Albums and US Billboard Rap Albums. It also ranked second on the US Billboard Soundtracks.
Awards & Achievements
Tyler has been nominated for several awards; he was first nominated in 2006 at the ‘NAACP Image Award’ in the category of ‘Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series’ for ‘Everybody Hates Chris’.
He was also nominated at the ‘Teen Choice Awards’ for ‘Choice Actor: Comedy’ and at the ‘Young Artist Awards’ in the category of ‘Leading Young Actor (Comedy or Drama) for his performance as Chris.
Second time lucky in 2007, he won the award as a teenage artist for ‘Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series’ at ‘NAACP Image Awards’ for his role in ‘Everybody Hates Chris’.
He was once again nominated for the same category in the NAACP Awards the following year. He was also nominated at the ‘Young Artist Awards’ for ‘Best Performance in a TV series - Leading Young Actor’ for ‘Everybody Hates Chris’.
In 2009 and 2010, he was nominated consecutively at the ‘NAACP Image Awards’ for ‘Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series’. However, he couldn’t take the trophy home on both occasions.
In 2015, he won the ‘Best Breakthrough Performance’ for his role in the Hollywood film ‘Dear White People’ at the ‘Black Reel Awards’.
Personal Life & Legacy
He is presently staying with his brothers in Los Angeles, California. He has helped shape the future of both his brothers, who are also actors. His brothers played his younger version in the series ‘Everybody Hates Chris’.
He dated Keke Palmer in 2008, the couple were closely followed by the paparazzi for one and a half year, until they split in 2010. He is currently dating singer-songwriter, Karina Pasian and recently released a music video with her.
Tyler wasn’t Chris Rock’s first choice to play the character ‘Chris’ in ‘Everybody Hates Chris’, since he thought Tyler was quite handsome for the role. Rather it was the Network that persisted that either Tyler would play the character or they wouldn’t produce the show.