Montel Williams is an Emmy Award-winning television personality, actor, and a veteran activist whose decorated military service spanned 22 years in two branches of the service—the United States Marines and the United States Navy. He is best known as host of the long-running The Montel Williams Show, and more recently as a spokesperson for the Partnership for Prescription Assistance.
After his graduation from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, in 1980, Montel Williams became the first African-American enlisted United States Marine to complete and graduate from both the Academy Prep School and the Naval Academy.
In 1988, he began conducting informal counseling for the wives and families of the servicemen in his command. He was later asked to speak to a local group of children in Kansas City, Missouri, about the importance of leadership and how to overcome obstacles on the road to success. This began a three-year career in motivational speaking that eventually led to The Montel Williams Show on television.
He left the United States Navy with the rank of lieutenant commander, and received the Navy Achievement Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Navy Commendation Medal.
Montel Williams is active with the nonprofit MS Foundation, which he founded after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the late 1990s. He is also on the board of The Fisher House, a unique private-public partnership that supports America’s military in their time of need by donating “comfort homes,” built on the grounds of major military and Veterans Administration medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times—during hospitalization due to an unexpected illness, disease, or injury. Annually, the Fisher House program serves more than 12,000 families, and have made available more than 3 million days of lodging to family members since the program originated in 1990.