Palmer Williams Jr. has played a variety of roles on stage — from barber to marriage counselor — under the umbrella of the Tyler Perry Studios brand. Williams says for him it’s an “actor’s dream.”
“You have an opportunity to make people laugh and the story lines have substance as well,” the veteran thespian and playwright explains.
Cast in the new stage play, The Haves and the Have Nots, Williams plays Floyd, a butler and trusted confidante who works with the hilarious maid Rose. The amusing pair are employed at the Willis estate, and their wealthy employers appear to have everything that anyone could ask for. But what they don’t have is a connection with the struggle and strife — that is, until Rose opens up.
Here, Williams explains that his role as Floyd is just the tip of the iceberg and how his career is really “just getting started.” –yvette caslin
Hometown: Back and forth between Camden, Ala. and Mobile, Ala.
Family: Wife and four children – Tierney, 27; Nia, 11; Palmer III, 9; and Luke Anthony-Michael, 6.
How does your character in the play, Floyd the butler, relate to Palmer Williams Jr.?
Eighty percent of Floyd’s characteristics are like me. I am about 80 percent as crazy as he is. Some of the stuff he does is over the top. Floyd is very relatable. For example, if he loses his job, Floyd is the type of person who holds collateral until he gets his last paycheck. I am a servant leader at my church, so I possess that mind-set. I’m a good steward over people’s time, money and friendship. When I walk down the street, people call me Floyd.
How do you get into character?
I warm up my voice and get in front of a mirror and start to transform into the butler-esque mind-set. … This is what I do and this is what I love to do: theater and acting.
When you received a call from Tyler Perry years ago, you were fighting depression and facing bankruptcy. Why did you continue to pursue a career in theater and acting instead of giving up?
I remember what my father asked me before he passed away, ‘When are you going to stop making everyone else rich and start doing something for yourself?’ God is equipping me to do everything that He has planned for me.
Heroes: Parents. “I graduated from Knoxville College where both my parents attended. They were college sweethearts. I pledged Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. My dad was one of the founders of my chapter and as far as I am concerned, there was no other fraternity. I absolutely adored my dad and worshiped the ground he walked on. He was my best friend.”
Little Known Fact: Shares a birthday with Magic Johnson, August 14. “I collect lions and one of my most unique ones is the miniature Swarovski crystal.”