Montel Williams (born July 3, 1956) is an American television talk-show host. After graduating high school in 1974, Williams enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, where his father, Herman Williams Jr, served as fire chief, and soon thereafter reported for duty at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. After six months, he was meritoriously promoted twice, and in 1975, became the first black Marine selected to the Naval Academy Preparatory School. Upon graduating from the Academy's Prep School one year later, Williams received a presidential appointment to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. While at Annapolis, he studied Mandarin Chinese and graduated in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science in General Engineering and a minor in International Security Affairs. He served on board the USS Sampson during the U.S. invasion of Grenada. His awards include the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, two Navy Expeditionary Medals, two Humanitarian Service Medals, a Navy Achievement Medal, two Navy Commendation Medals and two Meritorious Service Medals.He retired after 22 years of service.
In 1991 he began hosting his own TV show, Montel. Williams has portrayed a Navy Seal Lieutenant in several episodes of the TV series JAG. He also played the Judge presiding over Erica Kane's (Susan Lucci) murder trial on the ABC soap opera All My Children in 2002. In 2003 he made a guest appearance on the soap, as himself, to promote an episode of his show where several of AMC's star were scheduled to appear.
During an episode of his show that aired on May of 2004, Williams revealed that he had considered committing suicide, after trying cocaine as an alternative to legal medicines. He has been suffering physical pain for a very long time due to multiple sclerosis, which was diagnosed in 1999. He supports the legalization of marijuana for people who suffer from painful terminal or incurable illnesses.
He has been nominated for three Daytime Emmy Awards: Outstanding Talk Show in 2001 and 2002, and Outstanding Talk Show Host in 2002.He is also an identical twin,and his brother has appeared on the program.