Williams was born on July 21, 1951, in Chicago, Illinois. His mother, Laura McLaurin (née Smith, September 24, 1922 – September 4, 2001), was a former model from New Orleans, Louisiana. His father, Robert Fitzgerald Williams (September 10, 1906 – October 18, 1987), was a senior executive at Ford Motor Company in charge of the Midwest region.
His maternal great-great-grandfather was Mississippi senator and governor Anselm J. McLaurin. Williams’ ancestry includes English, Welsh, Irish, Scottish, German, and French.
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