Cress Williams

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The actor known for Hart of Dixie, Never Been Kissed, The Doom Generation, Cress Williams was born to African-American parents in Germany.

He attended and graduated from Fullerton College in Fullerton, California. There, he started his acting career by taking part in school productions, an ordeal that didn’t work for him initially as reviewers were quick to criticize his acting. Upon graduation, he plunged into acting for the screen, making his debut through a recurring role on Beverly Hills 90210 in 1993. He later made his film debut in 1995’s The Doom Generation.

Williams then appeared in other television shows, such as NYPD Blue, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, JAG, Becker and Sports Night, as well as in notable recurring roles for Leaving L.A., Living Single, Nash Bridges, ER, and Providence. He also starred in films such as Rolling Thunder, Fallen and Pursuit of Happiness.

After further roles in television—House, Veronica Mars, Grey’s Anatomy and The West Wing, among others—he became a regular player in the legal drama Close to Home, joining the second season as detective Ed Williams. When the series folded up, he played Miranda Bailey's husband in Grey's Anatomy and later joined the cast of Prison Break, as feared Company assassin Wyatt Mathewson.

He appeared in the final season of Friday Night Lights as Ornette Howard, father of East Dillon's star quarterback Vince Howard. He also starred alongside Rachel Bilson on The CW series Hart of Dixie as former football star turned mayor Lavon Hayes.

Mayor is his favorite role till now!


Williams was married to his former wife, actress Simbi Khali for 9 years before parting ways. They got married in 2002 and divorced in 2011.

 In 2013, may 21st Cress tied the knot again with his co-star turned girlfriend Kristen Torrianni. The wedding took place on the island of Kauai.

"The wedding was an intimate affair on the beach, with the bride's and groom's parents and Cress' daughter in attendance," Williams' rep said. "After getting married in Kauai, they stayed and honeymooned there for nine more days."

Although it is the second marriage for Williams, it was the first for Torrianni. The two met in 2006 at the church they attend, and became closer friends about two years ago when they started hosting a weekly dinner party together.