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Who is "King Richard" Williams? All about Will Smith playing Serena and Venus Williams' father in the upcoming film

Will Smith as Richard Williams in "King Richard (2021)." Richard and Serena Williams in 2012 Wimbledon. (Image via Warner Bros. Pictures, and Alastair Grant/Associated Press)
Will Smith as Richard Williams in "King Richard (2021)." Richard and Serena Williams in 2012 Wimbledon. (Image via Warner Bros. Pictures, and Alastair Grant/Associated Press)
Abhirup Sengupta
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Warner Bros. released the trailer for the highly anticipated biopic, “King Richard.” The sports drama has Will Smith starring as American tennis coach Richard Williams. The movie will showcase the story of tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams’ father, Richard.

“King Richard” will also portray the journey of the two sisters under their father’s coaching to become the sporting legends that they are today. The movie will reportedly focus on Serena and Venus’ upbringing.

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The biopic is directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green (of 2018’s “Monsters and Men” fame) and is written by Zach Baylin (who is also slated to write the screenplay for the upcoming “Creed III”).

The film is set to release on November 19, 2021, in theaters and on HBO Max.


Who is “King Richard” Williams?

Richard Williams (Image via: Atria Books)
Richard Williams (Image via: Atria Books)

Richard Williams, (Richard Dove Williams Jr.) aka “King Richard,” is the father of Serena and Venus Williams. The Louisiana native was born on Valentine’s day of 1942, i.e., February 14, 1942.

In his early life, Richard had to face many hardships ranging from having an absentee father, poverty, racism, and more. In his book, "Black and White: The Way I See It (co-written by Barth Davis),” the former tennis coach recalls stealing chickens for his family’s survival, the racial attacks he had to face, along with leaving his town dressed as a KKK member.

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In the biography “Venus and Serena Williams” by Jacqueline Edmondson, the 79-year old stated that his coach was “Old Whiskey.” Richard’s goal of training his daughters began when he watched Virginia Ruzici compete for a prize money of $40,0000.

Williams said he wrote up a 78-page plan and began to coach them when Venus and Serena were around four years old. This was referred to in the new trailer for his biopic, “King Richard,” where he said,

“I wrote a 78-page plan for their whole career before they were even born.”

Richard Williams has been married several times and has an unspecified number of children. In 1979, “King Richard” married Oracene “Brandy” Price, with whom he had Venus (on June 17, 1980) and Serena (on September 26, 1981). Oracene is also known to have coached her daughters in tennis.

The couple lived in Compton with their five children (Serena, Venus, and Price’s three other daughters from a previous marriage). Richard and Oracene split in 2002 and after their divorce, “King Richard” married Lakeisha Juanita in 2010.

He had a son with her in 2012, but the couple filed for divorce in 2017. They are now involved in a controversial lawsuit where Williams sued Juanita for allegedly defrauding his property.

Since 2016, Richard Williams suffered several strokes that left him with several medical conditions and took his ability to speak properly.


Fan reaction to the "King Richard" trailer:

Williams’ new biopic, “King Richard,” has generated a lot of buzz. Some fans have even speculated about a potential Oscar nomination for Will Smith for his portrayal of Richard Williams.


Edited by Sijo Samuel Paul
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