Wendy Williams: The Queen of Gossip (and wigs)

Wendy-2_optWhether you can’t get enough of Wendy Williams, can only take her in small amounts, or find her to be a turnoff, there is no denying that the talk show diva has a major impact.
Part of her appeal is that she is so into what she is doing, having fun with it. Her smile lights up a room and a television screen. She has no qualms about getting into the personal lives of celebrities. As she puts it, “Their business is our business.” Her one-on-one interviews are interesting and often spicy, but the highlight of every show is the “Hot Topics” segment where she really cuts loose.
OF COURSE, over the years Wendy Williams has angered a lot of people. For example, in her radio days, Will Smith was so infuriated that he threatened to buy the station she was syndicated from and have her dismissed.
And then, of course, there was her intense on-air clash with Omarosa. She appeared on one of the early Wendy Williams TV shows to promote her book, but also had an agenda and a vendetta. She lashed out at Williams for things said about her on Williams’ radio show.
They exchanged harsh (and sometimes humorous) insults and at one point Williams grabbed the book from Omarosa and said, “Just give me the book!” Omarosa angrily took it back and hissed, “Don’t snatch from me!”
But Williams got in the best line. She turned to the camera and said, “You know how they say good black don’t crack? Well, she’s cracking.”
This was a classic “catfight,” for lack of a better word.
BORN IN Ocean Township, New Jersey, Wendy Joan Williams, a Northeastern University alumna (Bachelor of Arts in Communications), began her career as a female “shock jock” — defined as “a person who talks on the radio saying things that are offensive to many people; a radio personality noted for provocative or inflammatory commentary.”
Some people prefer to “genderize” (that is a made-up word) the genre, making Williams a “shock jockette.” She has been heard on numerous stations, noted for “on-air spats” with celebrities.
Wendy Williams began her radio career, oddly enough, in the Virgin Islands on WVIS. Next step was working as a substitute deejay at WRKS in New York, but she was so successful that management made her full-time.
Virtually no topic was off limits for Williams, about celebrities or herself. She would speak candidly about her husband, their marriage, his infidelity, breast enhancement surgery, her miscarriages and former drug use.
AFTER A couple of stops, Williams was back in New York City in 2001, hired by WBLS. Her 2-6 p.m. show was syndicated.
Perhaps her most infamous encounter was an on-air interview with superstar Whitney Houston. Much of what was said had to be bleeped. Williams relentlessly questioned Houston about her reported drug issues and Houston was enraged, using language that belied the “sweet princess” image that was an essential element in the way she was originally presented to the public.
On July 14, 2008 Williams — who had opted to leave radio — was introduced to the national television audience with “The Wendy Williams Show” on stations owned and operated by the Fox Network. She was nothing like Oprah Winfrey or any other TV host!
Six weeks of test marketing in Detroit, Los Angeles, Dallas and New York proved to be highly successful. Not surprisingly, females comprised the by far the largest segment of her audience. That is still the case today.
WILLIAMS has made appearances on other television programs as well, including “30 Rock,” “New York Undercover,” “One Life to Live” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”; written seven books, non-fiction and fiction, including “The Wendy Williams Experience,” “Wendy’s Got the Heat,” “Ask Wendy: Straight-Up Advice for all the Drama in Your Life” and “Drama is Her Middle Name: The Ritz Harper Chronicles, Vol. 1”; appeared on stage in “Chicago”; and was seen in the several films, among them “Think Like a Man” and “The Cookout.”
She also does stand-up comedy.
One mistake was competing on “Dancing with the Stars.” She wasn’t very good, to put it mildly, and was eliminated in that season’s second week.
Wendy Williams has been awarded for her work on numerous occasions, including being named to the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2009 and voted Radio Personality of the Year by both Billboard magazine and Black Radio Exclusive magazine.
She and her husband, Kevin Hunter, have a son, Kevin, Jr.
Williams, whose net worth has been reported to be $60 million, said, “Basically, I hate conformity. I hate people telling me what to do.”
Love her or love her not, Wendy Williams is special in her own way.

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