Who is Otis Williams?
American singer and actor Otis Williams was born Otis Miles Jr. in Texarkana, Texas USA, on 30 October 1941, making Scorpio his zodiac sign. He’s probably known best now for being the only original surviving member of the American soul music group The Temptations, which was founded in the early ‘60s and went on to become highly popular in both North America and Europe; the group provided soundtracks for a number of critically acclaimed movies, including the 1990 biographical crime drama “Goodfellas”, which won 44 awards, including an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Joe Pesci).
Education and early life
Otis’s parents Hazel Louise Williams and Otis Miles divorced not long after he was born, and he was still a toddler when his mother left him to be raised by his two grandmothers in Texarkana; Hazel then married a man from Detroit, Michigan and took Otis to live with them when he was 10.
He studied at a local high school in Detroit, and was mostly into singing, dancing and acting during his teenage years; Otis also founded a number of bands while at high school, including The Distants, El Domingoes and The Siberians.
He matriculated in 1960 and then began pursuing a career in music rather than enrolling at college.
Otis and his band The Distants became popular in 1959, after the release of their hit single “Come On”, however, their following recordings weren’t successful, and Otis thus quit the band in the following year.
He and his The Distants bandmates Richard Street and Elbridge ‘Al’ Bryant’ then founded their new band The Elgins, and signed a contract with Motown Records in 1961; because another band was using the same name, Otis and his bandmates chose to change it to The Temptations.
The group became one of the most popular soul music acts in the USA, and a number of famous musicians joined and left the band over the course of five decades, including Theo Peoples and David Ruffin; the lineup changes occurred so often that Otis promised he would never leave The Temptations. One of the band’s co-founding members, Melvin Franklin stayed with the group until 1994, when his health forced him to leave music behind him; he died on 23 February of the following year.
Patricia Romanowski’s book about the group “Temptations” was published in 1988, and was adapted into a documentary mini-series “The Temptations” in 1998; famous American actor Charles Malik Whitfield portrayed Otis.
Even though considered to be the most important member of the band, Otis can rarely be heard singing lead; he’s more focused on the group’s organization, and on being ‘baritone in the middle’. Two songs in which Otis was the lead singer were the 1968 “This Guy’s in Love with You” and the 1972 “I Ain’t Got Nothing”.
The Temptations have released 43 albums, while their most recent – “Temptations 60” – came out in 2022; its current members are Otis, Ron Tyson, Terry Weeks, Tony Grant and Jawan M. Jackson.
Roles in movies
Otis has appeared in four TV series and two movies, in some together with his group mates.
His debut TV series appearance was in the 1985 episode “Rockabye Baby” of the action adventure comedy “The Fall Guy”, created by Glen A. Larson, and which starred Lee Majors, Douglas Barr and Heather Thomas. It follows a stuntman who’s a bounty hunter in his spare time, the series aired from 1981 through 1986, and won one of its two award nominations.
The year 1986 saw Otis appear in the episode “Symphony in Knocked Flat” of the mystery comedy “Moonlighting”, while the following year saw The Temptations appear in the romantic crime comedy movie “Happy New Year”, directed by John G. Avildsen, and which starred Peter Falk, Charles Durning and Claude Lelouch. It follows Nick and Charlie as they’re robbing Harry Winston’s jewelry store, and the film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Makeup.
The group was then featured in the 1990 episode “Goin’ to the Chapel: Part 2” of the comedy series “Murphy Brown”, and later in the critically acclaimed 2007 musical comedy film “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story”, written and directed by Jake Kasdan, and which starred John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer and David Krumholtz; it follows the life of musical legend Dewey Cox, and the film won one of its seven award nominations.
Most recently, in 2021, The Temptations appeared in an episode of “The Sherard Show”.
Love life and wife
Otis has married thrice. His first wife was non-celebrity American Josephine Rogers; the two married in 1961, and she gave birth to their son Otis Lamont Miles in the same year. Their divorce was finalized in 1964; their son was a construction worker, and died in 1985 when he fell off a building.
Otis was then engaged to American R&B singer Patti LaBelle, but she broke up from him after he asked her to leave music behind her and become a homemaker.
From 1967 through 1973, Otis was married to non-celebrity American Ann Cain.
He’s been married to Arleata ‘Goldie’ Williams (nee Carter) since 28 January 1983; her daughter Elan Carter was the June 1994 Playboy Playmate of the Month.
Otis Williams and his grandson, Trace Austin, just after their interview on KTLA in Los Angeles today. Following in his grandfather’s footsteps, Trace has a new EP out now called Canary Wharf!
Interesting facts and hobbies
Otis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.
The Temptations have their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Otis has stated on multiple occasions that the late The Temptations’ member Melvin Franklin was his best friend.
He enjoys being active on Instagram and has posted nearly 700 pictures and videos onto the network, while close to 15,000 people are following him today; most of Otis’ content is music-related.
Otis is a huge fan of Hollywood, and his favorite actor is Al Pacino; some of his favorite movies are “Dog Day Afternoon”, “Insomnia” and “Righteous Kill”.
Height, eyes and wealth
Otis’ age is 81. He has brown eyes and black hair, is 6ft 2ins (1.88m) tall and weighs about 200lbs (90kgs).
Otis’ net worth’s been estimated at over $10 million as of May 2023.