Michelle Ingrid Williams (born September 9, 1980) is an American actress. She is particularly known for her roles in small-scale independent productions with dark or tragic themes. She is the recipient of several accolades, including two Golden Globe Awards and a Primetime Emmy Award, in addition to nominations for four Academy Awards and one Tony Award.
Daughter of the politician and trader Larry R. Williams, she was raised in Kalispell and San Diego. She began her career with television guest appearances and made her film debut in the family film Lassie in 1994. At 15, she gained emancipation from her parents, and soon achieved recognition for her leading role in the television teen drama series Dawson's Creek (1998–2003). This was followed by low-profile films, before her breakthrough role as the wife of a gay man in Brokeback Mountain (2005) earned her an Academy Award nomination.
Williams went on to gain 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 Outstanding Lead Actress 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 film Venom (2018). On Broadway, she 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.
Williams is an advocate for equal pay. She is reticent about her personal life; she has a daughter from her relationship with the late actor Heath Ledger, and was briefly married to the musician Phil Elverum. She is married to theater director Thomas Kail, with whom she has a child.
She is also known as Michelle Ingrid Williams.