Michelle Ingrid Williams (born September 9, 1980) is an American actress. Known primarily for starring in small-scale independent films with dark or tragic themes, she has received various accolades, including two Golden Globe Awards and a Primetime Emmy Award, in addition to nominations for five Academy Awards and a Tony Award.
Williams, a daughter of politician and trader Larry R. Williams, began her career with television guest appearances and made her film debut in the family film Lassie in 1994. She gained emancipation from her parents at age fifteen, and soon achieved recognition for her leading role in the teen drama television series Dawson's Creek (1998–2003). This was followed by low-profile films, before having her breakthrough with the drama film Brokeback Mountain (2005).
Williams went on to receive critical acclaim for playing emotionally troubled women coping with loss or loneliness in the independent dramas Wendy and Lucy (2008), Blue Valentine (2010), and Manchester by the Sea (2016). She won two Golden Globes for portraying Marilyn Monroe in the drama My Week with Marilyn (2011) and Gwen Verdon in the miniseries Fosse/Verdon (2019), in addition to a Primetime Emmy Award for the latter. Her highest-grossing releases came with the thriller Shutter Island (2010), the fantasy film Oz the Great and Powerful (2013), the musical The Greatest Showman (2017), and the superhero films Venom (2018) and Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021). Williams has also led major studio films, such as Ridley Scott's crime thriller All the Money in the World (2017) and Steven Spielberg's drama The Fabelmans (2022).
On Broadway, Williams starred in revivals of the musical Cabaret in 2014 and the drama Blackbird in 2016, for which she received a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. She is an advocate for equal pay in the workplace. Consistently private about her personal life, Williams has a daughter from her relationship with actor Heath Ledger and was briefly married to musician Phil Elverum. She has two children with her second husband, theater director Thomas Kail.