Williams, Bert

Born in Antigua, Bert Williams (1875-1922) was one of America's great comedians. For most of his career, he and George Walker formed an immensely popular vaudeville team; at the height of their success, they gave a command performance at Buckingham Palace. They are credited with having turned a dance called the Cake Walk into an international sensation. Starting in 1910, Williams pursued a solo career with the Ziegfeld Follies, then a premier revue; he stayed with the Follies until his death. In these years, he was America's best-known and most successful black comedian.