Michelle Ingrid Williams is an American actress. Known for her roles in small-scale independent productions with dark or tragic themes, Williams is the recipient of several accolades, including two Golden Globe Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, and nominations for four Academy Awards, and a Tony Award.
Daughter of the politician and trader Larry R. Williams, she was raised in Kalispell and San Diego. She began her career with television guest appearances and made her film debut in the family film Lassie in 1994. At 15, she gained emancipation from her parents, and soon achieved recognition for her leading role in the television teen drama series Dawson’s Creek (1998–2003). This was followed by low-profile films, before having her breakthrough with the drama film Brokeback Mountain (2005), for which she received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Williams is an advocate for equal pay. She is reticent about her personal life; she has a daughter from her relationship with actor Heath Ledger, and was briefly married to the musician Phil Elverum. She is married to theater director Thomas Kail, with whom she has a child.