TopVet: Montel Williams, Talk-Show Host

Montel Williams

Montel Brian Hank Williams – Montel to his fans – has become a nationally respected talk-show host. His “Montel Williams Show,” for many years one of the more popular offerings on daytime television, doesn’t dwell only on sex and celebrity, although the trashy and the trendy are the bread-and-butter of talk shows; episodes also deal with such topics as families torn asunder by drugs, uniting family members who have never met each other, and uniting families torn apart by unfaithfulness.

Amplifying this theme, Montel offers counseling sessions, drug rehabilitation programs, and weight loss regimens to former guests who want the help.

For his efforts, Montel was accorded a daytime Emmy as “Outstanding Talk Show Host” in 1995-96. Montel had a wide range of experiences before becoming a talk show host. He joined the United States Marine Corps in 1974. While in the service he studied Mandarin Chinese and received a degree in general engineering, with a minor in international security affairs. During his 15-year military career, he served as an intelligence officer; among his decorations are an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, a Naval Expeditionary Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, and two Meritorious Service Awards.

While still in the service, he began to counsel the wives and families of servicemen under his command. After a speaking engagement to Kansas City youths about leadership and overcoming obstacles, a new vista opened up for his interests and his talent: touring the country and giving motivational speeches to young people, talking to them about personal responsibility – and the possibilities for success inherent in all of us.

Montel and buddy
Photo courtesy of <br />The Montel Williams Show

His career as a public speaker underway, he resigned his naval commission. Within two years of filming an introduction to the classroom version of the Civil War epic "Glory" (1989), he landed his own syndicated TV show. While "The Montel Williams Show" did not challenge the dominance of Phil Donahue and Oprah Winfrey in the ratings, his creditable start boded well for his future as a TV personality.

He has written a book, Mountain Get Out of My Way, in which he expounds his philosophy: "I don’t believe that things happen by mistake. If you ask me, things happen because you make them happen."

When Montel was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999, he made a pledge to use his celebrity to find a cure. Because of his unique position, Montel has had access to current research being conducted around the world. And, true to his word, he has established The Montel Williams MS Foundation to further the scientific study of MS and disseminate information to survivors, their loved ones, and the general public, as well as to provide financial assistance to select organizations and institutions conducting research into a cure for this disease.

Montel has donated all his author royalties from the first book published under his publishing imprint, Mountain Movers Press, to the Foundation. Life Lessons and Reflections is a book of quotes, some by Montel himself, others by various people who have inspired him, as well as profiles of hope and courage of those who have survived MS


Photo courtesy of The Montel Williams Show

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