Tonya Lee Williams

Tonya Lee Williams
Tonya Lee Williams at the 2013 Zanzibar International Film Festival.jpg
Tonya Maxine Williams

(1958-07-12) July 12, 1958 (age 60)
London, England
Years active1980–present
Spouse(s)Robert Simpson (1983–1991)

Tonya Lee Williams (born Tonya Maxine Williams on July 12, 1958) is a Canadian actress. She is known for her role as Dr. Olivia Barber Winters on the American soap opera The Young and the Restless, from 1990 to 2005 and for a brief time in 2007 and 2008.

Early life[]

Williams was born in London, England to Jamaican parents. She lived in London and Kingston, Jamaica as a young child. At age five, she contracted rheumatic fever; she and her mother then moved to Birmingham. In 1969 she and her family settled in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. As a teenager she modeled in Eaton's catalogues and danced on a television series called Boogie! which ran on Citytv. In 1977 Williams was crowned Miss Black Ontario.

Williams was married to Robert Simpson from 1983 to 1991, but she has not remarried since.


Williams' television debut was as a host of the Canadian children's show Polka Dot Door, from 1980 to 1983, after graduating from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in 1979. Appearances on the television series Check it Out! and Generations followed. Her involvement on Generations snagged her a role on The Young and the Restless, and has become her most lucrative role. Williams won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series in 2000 and 2002.

Williams also appeared on A Very Brady Christmas as Cindy's roommate.

In March 2004, Williams hosted the special event program Tonya Lee Williams: Gospel Jubilee, on CBC Television. She is a member of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority.

Williams is also the founder and president of the ReelWorld Film Festival, an annual film festival in Toronto that features talent from ethnically diverse communities.


Film and television appearances[]

Year Title Role Notes
1980–1983 Polka Dot Door Host
1985 Check it Out! Jennifer Woods 22 episodes
1986 As Is TV Commentator TV movie
1987 What's Happening Now!! Michelle Episode: "The New Employee"
The Liberators Jenny On Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color
Street Legal Belinda / Reporter 2 episodes
Gimme a Break! Judy Mitchell Episode: "Parents' Week: Part 1"
Hill Street Blues Shirley Episode: "It Ain't Over Till It's Over"
Falcon Crest Chase's Secretary / Lois 3 episodes
Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future Chelsea Chandler Episode: "And Study War No More"
1988 A Very Brady Christmas Belinda TV movie
1989–1990 Generations Linda Dukes unknown episodes
1989 Matlock Dana Williams Episode: "The Starlet"
Nasty Boys unknown Nasty Boys (pilot)
A Peaceable Kingdom Colleen 3 episodes
The Young and the Restless Dr. Olivia Barber Winters May 1990–September 7, 2005
April 12–13, 2007
October 23, 2008–February 2012 recurring role
1990 Spaced Invaders Ernestine
Piece of Cake Tanya TV movie
1991 The Borrower Desk Nurse
1993 Counterstrike Denise Episode: "The Contender"
Getting By Janet Episode: "Shop till You Drop"
1994 Silk Stalkings Loretta Cole Episode: "The Last Campaign"
1998 PSI Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal Carole Sanderson Episode: "Bad Dreams"
2000 Seventeen Again Monique Donovan
2004 Tonya Lee Williams: Gospel Jubilee Host TV special
2005 A Perfect Note Jasmine TV movie
2007 Poor Boy's Game Ruth Carvery
Finding Father's Toe Carole Short film
2009–2010 The Border Octavia Jones 5 episodes
2010 My Name is Khan News Anchor
2011 She's the Mayor Maxine Williams 13 episodes[1]
2012 Cybergeddon Donna Berg 2 episodes

Executive producer[]

Year Title Notes
2001 Maple TV movie
2004 Tonya Lee Williams: Gospel Jubilee TV movie
2004 Da Kink in My Hair TV movie


Year Title Notes
2004 Da Kink in My Hair TV movie


Year Title Notes
2004 Tonya Lee Williams: Gospel Jubilee Contributing writer; TV special

Awards and nominations[]


External links[]