Jesse Williams was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1981, to Reginald and Johanna Williams, a professional potter. He has African-American ancestry on his father’s side and Swedish ancestry on his mother’s.
Williams has two younger brothers, both of whom are artists. He attended Moses Brown School in Providence, Rhode Island, as a child, where he graduated in 1998. His father began teaching history in northern Maine after Williams graduated from high school.
Williams went on to Temple University in Philadelphia, where he studied African-American studies and cinema and video arts as a double major. He modeled for Levi’s, Tommy Hilfiger, and Kenneth Cole on occasion during this time. Williams subsequently followed in his father’s footsteps and taught high school for six years in the Philadelphia public school system.
Williams was one of 14 actors chosen for the New York Actors Showcase, hosted by ABC Television, while studying acting in 2005. He made his television debut in 2006, portraying Kwame in an episode of “Law & Order.” Williams also had a recurring part in “Beyond the Break,” a surfing drama series, that same year.
What is Jesse Williams Net Worth?
Jesse Williams is an actor, filmmaker, and activist best known for his role as Dr. Jackson Avery on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” The net worth of Jesse Williams is $12 million. In addition to “The Cabin in the Woods,” “The Butler,” and “Band-Aid,” he has appeared on the big screen in “The Cabin in the Woods,” “The Butler,” and “Band-Aid.” Williams is a member of civil rights and racial justice advocacy groups as an activist.
Television Career and “Grey’s Anatomy”
Williams landed his biggest role yet in 2009, playing surgical resident Jackson Avery on the medical drama series “Grey’s Anatomy,” after acting as Drew Collins in two episodes of the ABC Family show “Greek.” He became a series regular the following year, starting with the show’s seventh season. Williams was nominated for a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Dramatic TV Actor after appearing in 270 episodes of the hit ABC series. In 2021, he announced his departure from “Grey’s Anatomy.”
In the third season of ABC’s “Station 19,” Williams played Dr. Jackson Avery again in 2020. He also had a recurring role in the Hulu drama “Little Fires Everywhere,” starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, as Joe Ryan. Williams’ previous TV appearances include the Starz crime thriller “Power” and the comedy sketch show “The Eric Andre Show,” in which he played himself. In addition to acting, Williams directed the eighth episode of the ABC courtroom drama “Rebel” and served as executive producer of the television documentary “Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement,” in which he also starred in.
Career in Film
Williams made his feature film debut in “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2,” which was released in 2008. He starred alongside Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, Wesley Snipes, and Richard Gere in the crime drama “Brooklyn’s Finest” the next year. In the horror-comedy “The Cabin in the Woods,” Williams played Holden McCrea, and it was his first main role. He starred alongside Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard, Jane Fonda, Robin Williams, Vanessa Redgrave, John Cusack, Cuba Gooding Jr., and others in the 2013 historical drama “The Butler,” in which he played civil rights pioneer James Lawson.
The sports drama “Snake & Mongoose” and the crime thriller “Money” followed, with Williams starring in both. He appeared in the dramedy “Band-Aid” as a supporting character in 2017. In 2019, Williams starred in the horror thrillers “Random Acts of Violence” and “Jacob’s Ladder,” as well as a supporting part in the boarding school drama “Selah and the Spades” as Headmaster Banton.
Williams produced “Two Distant Strangers,” a 2020 short film on police violence and racial injustice in contemporary America, in addition to appearing in films. The short was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film and went on to win the award.
Work in the Theatre
Williams appeared in New York City’s Cherry Lane Theatre in revivals of two Edward Albee pieces, “The Sandbox” and “The American Dream.” He was also a guest director at the Urban Arts Partnership 24 Hour Plays Off-Broadway for student performances.
Involvement of other forms of media
Throughout his career, Williams has appeared in many music videos. He appeared in the video for the rock group +44’s song “When Your Heart Stops Beating” in 2006. In the video for Rihanna’s single “Russian Roulette,” he played her love interest. Estelle’s “Fall in Love,” Demi Lovato’s “Tell Me You Love Me,” and Jay-“Legacy” Z’s all feature Williams.
Williams also conducted voice acting and motion capture for the video game “Detroit: Become Human,” in which he portrayed Markus. For the 2020 game “NBA 2K21,” he provided more voice work and motion capture.
Divorce Settlements and Personal Life
In 2012, Jesse Williams married Aryn Drake-Lee, a longtime girlfriend. Sadie, a daughter, and Maceo, a son, are their two children. The couple divorced in April of this year. Jesse’s monthly salary was found to be $521,000 ($6.25 million per year) throughout the course of their divorce proceedings.
As a result, a judge ordered Jesse to pay $33,000 a month in child support to his ex-girlfriend. This was later increased to $50,000 and then $100,000 per month. As they move towards a final settlement, that figure could be reduced.
The Advancement Project, a civil rights research tank and advocacy organization, has Williams on its board of directors. He is also the executive producer of Question Bridge: Black Males, a multimedia project, exhibition, and teacher and student curriculum about black male identity. Williams’ humanitarian work earned him the BET humanitarian award in 2016.