Birth Name: Gregory Alan Williams
Des Moines, Iowa
Current Residence: Los Angeles, California
Marital Status: Married
Hair/Eyes: Black/Dark Brown
Height/weight: 6 feet, 2
Heritage: American/Black with African, American Indian and European decent
College/After his freshman year, he quit to join the military
Parents: Georgia Faye Travis (Born
and raised in Mississippi)/Mother raised him as a strong, single parent/Father N/A
Children: 3 sons;
Showbusiness start: In 1976, when he landed
his first full-time acting job with Penumbra, St. Paul, Minnesota's first professional Black theatrical company.
He became one of the founders of the company.
Children's Charities; Composing Music; Hiking; Outdoor Sports; Singing.
Greg Alan Williams was raised in Des Moines, Iowa by his mother, Georgia. She raised him as a single
parent. They lived in a small, one bedroom house located on Des Moines' east side. Greg's mother instilled
in her son the importance of education, speech, writing, music and good manners. She had a hard work ethic, often
juggling two or three jobs at once. Georgia worked as a nurse before Greg started school and as a glove factory worker
after he started school.
Greg started piano lessons when he was seven years old and was not good at sports as
a child. Instead, he had music lessons and went home after school to practice piano or guitar and then do homework. His
friends always came by to ask if he could come out, but he couldn't. This resulted in some of the boys calling him names.
His activities were different from what most Black children did in the area during that time. The children in his area dismissed
these as White activities.
As a child Greg had a keen interest in the mlitary. He always asked military veterans
to tell him about the war they were in. He loved watching war movies while growing up and from them, learned a lot
His mother had a friend named Joe, who was a professional house painter. Most people called Joe
"Mr. Blue." Greg didn't have a father and Mr. Blue provided this image. Mr. Blue wasn't around every
day, but when he was, he bonded closely with Greg by spending quality time with him and teaching him things like how
to make a slingshot out of an old tire inner tube, hunt rabbits, fish and stop a grounder. Mr. Blue influenced his life until Greg
was fourteen years old. Greg had always referred to Mr. Blue as "my dad" out of the man's hearing range. Most
kids in the neighborhood didn't know that he wasn't his father.
Georgia had saved enough money to purchase a three bedroom home by the time Greg turned fourteen. Also
during this time, his mother sat him down and they started talking about college. Greg was sent to Campion Jesuitt
High School, a well respected all-male private boarding school in Praire du Chein, Wisconsin. In 1971 at the
age of fifteen, Greg had written a couple of songs for his church and high school gospel choirs. At the time, composing music
was an easy task. However, trying to add lyrics was not. Greg took some night courses so that he could graduate after
his junior year. He earned a partial scholarship to a small college in Iowa.
As planned, Greg went on to college. Like many students during this time, he tried pot. At nineteen,
after his freshman year, Greg joined the Marines and served for two years. He never went into combat. The Vietnam
War ended a few months after he joined. He visited the base chapel every day to practice piano. It happened in the fall
of 1975 while stationed on the small Puerto Rican island Vieques that Greg learned how to combine lyrics and music. After
this discovery, he wrote songs everywhere.
After leaving the Marines at twenty one, he took a day job. He continued to write everywhere-even on
the bus, in bed and at work. Greg wanted to make it into the music industry and needed a plan. In 1976, he walked into a theater
in St. Paul, Minnesota and landed his first full-time acting job with the city's first professional Black theatrical company
called Penumbra. He became one of the companies founders.
Greg moved to Los Angeles in 1978. In his mid-twenties, he began working for a popular radio station
in Los Angeles. He wrote radio commercials, created character voices and the experience extended to his becoming a weekend
D.J. During this time, Greg disillusioned himself and lost sight of his original career plan. He
got backstage passes for concerts and hung out at parties with a few celebrities. Strangers would smile at him and
shake his hand when they recognized his voice from the radio.
It wasn't long before business professionals from outside the station began
asking him to write and produce radio commercials for their companies. Doing this freelance work in his spare time, he made
more money and got a bigger apartment. It was only occassionally that he would think about the music he used to write or plays
he acted in. Instead of using current opportunities as experience, a form of contacts and stepping stone toward his goal, his
dreams were placed on the back burner.
He started writing freelance articles for magazines and this meant even more money. After
two years at the radio station, he started to produce a series of talk shows. He worked with professionals as lawyers, businesspeople
and doctors. Like the professionals he worked with, he was using drugs. By his late twenties in 1983, he needed and called
for help. Greg spent 28 days in a drug treatment center.
During his early acting career, he met a woman named Denise at a nightclub and they soon dated and established
a regular romantic relationship. When his son Travis was born, Greg was totally unprepared. He didn't see much of his
son in his early years. He was living in another state, trying for acting jobs and wasn't making much money. He
felt that his son may have developed anger toward him for not seeing him regularly. And this caused him to stop seeing him
at all. He thought back to when he was a child and didn't have his father there for him. But he did have Mr. Blue was there
to help shape his life.
Besides his appearances in feature films and TV movies, Greg has kept busy
during his career by playing recurring character roles on the hit TV shows that include NBC's The West Wing, The District
(CBS), The Sopranos (HBO), The West boston Republic (FOX), Dream On, Civil Wars and Hunter.
He was a regular cast member as Beach cop Garner Ellerbee on Baywatch for 6 seasons
and then Baywatch Nights. He left Baywatch Nights after its first season to pursue other interests.
Millions of Americans watched as Greg rescued Takao Hirata, a brutally beaten American motorist of Japanese
decent during the Los Angeles Riots on April 29, 1992. Greg also testified in the trial of two men in the beating of Reginald
Denny. He was later honored by the city of Los Angeles for his actions during the riots.