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Willa Ford

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Page 69 of 115

PEOPLE HART&SOUL with his humility and humanitarianism Hart of Dixie's Cress Williams charms us Words by Andrea Gallego • Photographer: Stephen Busken Wardrobe Stylist: Madison Guest • Groomer: Anton Khachaturian I knew him best as Khadijah's love interest on Living Single and as popular college basketball star, D'Shawn Hardell, tutored by our favorite all-American heartthrob, Brandon Walsh on Beverly Hills, 90210. These were Cress Williams' first major roles and the most impressionable. For those of you who may not have seen him in the abovementioned TV shows, you may recognize him as Miranda Bailey's husband on Grey's Anatomy and as Company assassin, Wyatt Mathewson on Prison Break. Other notable credits include television's, Friday Night Lights, NYPD Blue, ER, Cold Case… to name a few, and movies, Never Been Kissed, starring Drew Barrymore and The Pursuit of Happyness –alongside Will Smith. Today, Cress stars in the CW's, Hart of Dixie, an American comedy-drama now in its second season. He plays the charming former NFL football star turned Mayor of Bluebell, Lavon Hayes, alongside Rachel Bilson, whose lead character, Dr. Zoe Hart is a New York City doctor who inherits a medical practice in a small town in Alabama and is adjusting to life there. Though their two characters may not have any romantic involvement –they've formed a deep friendship— the show has plenty of love triangles, deep secrets and rich history to keep the story lines more than entertaining. I knew that Cress Williams was born in Heidelberg, Germany and moved to Chicago shortly after. From there, his mother and he relocated to California when he was 3-years-old. He spent most of his childhood in Orange County, and attended Fullerton Community College, where he received his theater and acting foundation, and later completed his theater degree at UCLA. While attending college, he performed in over twenty plays: Othello, The Elephant Man, Extremities and Red Noses—among others. His film and television career began toward the end of his college years. My need to fill in the missing pieces, from his birth in Germany to his college years and success in the entertainment industry made for an interesting conversation with the warmhearted and humble actor. Miami Living:What or who inspired you to become an actor? Cress Williams: I knew I wanted to be a performer. I watched a lot of old movies growing up. When I was in high school I saw ole' Guys and Dolls with Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra and was blown away. I remember the first time I watched The Godfather with my mother. I remembered seeing that actor. It was Brando! He did a comedy with Sinatra and here I was watching the ultimate drama. It's the longevity and range and the desire to do everything. Comedy inspired me as well. I watched Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope and Eddie Murphy since I was a child. I also love Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino and Robert Duvall. These guys have all inspired me. ML: Tell us about your first audition? CW: I remember a play in college and not getting it [laughs]. 68 MIAMI LIVING

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