Golden Globe nominee Tyler James Williams was born in Westchester County and grew up in Yonkers, New York. He told his mother he wanted to become an actor after seeing Will Smith in the science-fiction action comedy Men in Black. He landed his first commercial at age 4 and was hired as a regular on the children’s program Sesame Street later on.
Until sixth grade, Williams attended public school. Later he was home-schooled. His father, Leroy Williams, worked as an NYPD sergeant, and his mother, Angela Williams, was a gospel singer and minister who oversaw the careers of Tyler and his younger brothers, Tyrel and Tylen, who are also actors.
When Williams was 12, he got his breakout role as a young Chris Rock on the sitcom Everybody Hates Chris. That brought him five NAACP Image Award nominations. In 2007, he won the Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series. Following that, the young industry veteran played more supporting parts on TV shows like a zombie apocalypse survivor on The Walking Dead, but also lead roles in movies like Dear White People and The Wedding Year.
In 2021, he returned to the limelight with the mockumentary Abbott Elementary in which he plays the strict but charming school teacher Gregory Eddie. For that role, he got a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.