Michelle Ingrid Williams (born September 9, 1980 in Kalispell, Montana) is an American actress who first rose to fame in the late '90s playing bad girl Jen Lindley on the hit series Dawson's Creek. After the show ended, she jumped to the silver screen with roles in such films as Dick, Prozac Nation, and The Station Agent, and also gained critical acclaim for several independent films before taking the role that would establish her as an A-list talent, the long-suffering Alma Beers in 2005's Brokeback Mountain.
On the set of Brokeback Mountain, she met and began dating Australian actor Heath Ledger, and a year later Williams gave birth to a daughter, Matilda Rose Ledger. The couple stayed together until 2007, separating amicably. After Ledger's death in 2008, Williams withdrew from public life for a time, but did have a starring role in the poorly-received Swedish film Mammoth.
In 2010, Williams returned to the screen with a critically acclaimed lead role in the romantic drama Blue Valentine, and also appeared in the Leonardo DiCaprio thriller Shutter Island. 2011 saw her take the title role of Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn, and her performance drew extensive praise and award nominations. In 2013 she played the good witch Glinda in Sam Raimi's Oz the Great and Powerful opposite James Franco and Mila Kunis.
In 2019 she played actor and dancer Gwen Verdon in the miniseries Fosse/Verdon. The following year she married Fosse/Verdon director Thomas Kail, with whom she had another child.
- Baywatch (1993-1994) as Bridget Bowers / Hobie's Groupie
- Lassie (1994) as April Porter
- Step by Step (1994) as J.J.
- Home Improvement (1995) as Jessica Lutz
- Species (1995) as Young Sil
- Dawson's Creek (1998-2003) as Jennifer "Jen" Lindley
- Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later (1998) as Molly Cartwell
- Dick (1999) as Arlene Lorenzo
- But I'm a Cheerleader (1999) as Kimberly
- The Station Agent (2003) as Emily
- The Baxter (2005) as Cecil Mills
- Brokeback Mountain (2005) as Alma Beers
- I'm Not There (2007) as Coco Rivington
- Synecdoche, New York (2008) as Claire Keen
- Mammoth (2009) as Ellen Vidales
- Blue Valentine (2010) as Cindy Heller
- Shutter Island (2010) as Dolores Chanal
- Meek's Cutoff (2010) as Emily Tetherow
- My Week with Marilyn (2011) as Marilyn Monroe
- Cougar Town (2013) as Laurie's foster sister (uncredited)
- Oz the Great and Powerful (2013) as Glinda the Good / Annie
- Cabaret (2014): Sally Bowles
- Suite Française (2015) as Lucile Angellier
- Manchester by the Sea (2016) as Randi Chandler
- The Greatest Showman (2017) as Charity Hallett-Barnum
- All the Money in the World (2017) as Gail Harris
- Sony's Spider-Man Universe as Anne Weying
- Fosse/Verdon (2019) as Gwen Verdon
Tropes related to her work:
- Long Hair Is Feminine: Usually with her roles; the characters she plays tend to act more feminine the longer their hair is. This stands out more in her case as she had long hair for most of her tenure on Dawson's Creek, but cut it short while dating Ledger and found that he loved how she looked with short hair. She's mostly kept it short since his death.
- Nipple and Dimed: She isn't exactly shy about partial nudity, but has toned it down since becoming a mother.