Please DONATE to help with maintenance and upkeep of the Wind Repertory Project!

Bert Williams

From Wind Repertory Project
Bert Williams

Biography

Bert Williams (12 November 1874, Nassau, Bahamas – 4 March 1922, Nww York, N.Y.) was a Bahamian American entertainer and comedian.

Williams one of the pre-eminent entertainers of the Vaudeville era and one of the most popular comedians for all audiences of his time. He was by far the best-selling black recording artist before 1920. In 1918, the New York Dramatic Mirror called Williams "one of the great comedians of the world."

Williams was a key figure in the development of African-American entertainment. In an age when racial inequality and stereotyping were commonplace, he became the first black American to take a lead role on the Broadway stage, and did much to push back racial barriers during his three-decade-long career. Fellow vaudevillian W. C. Fields, who appeared in productions with Williams, described him as "the funniest man I ever saw – and the saddest man I ever knew."

In 1903 Williams appeared in In Dahomey, the first the first Broadway musical to be written and performed by African Americans. He was also the first African American to be hired for the Ziegfeld Follies, in 1910.


Works for Winds


References