Paul Hamilton Williams (born September 19, 1940, in Omaha, Nebraska) is an American composer and songwriter. The diminutive (5 feet [1.5 m] tall) and cherubic Williams is also an actor, appearing in films and many television guest appearances, notably as the lead role in the cult film Phantom of the Paradise, a rock and roll remake of Phantom of the Opera. Williams worked closely with Jim Henson's Henson Productions on The Muppet Movie, most specifically on the soundtrack.
He is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and his songs have been performed by both pop and country music artists. He is the son-in-law of actor Keenan Wynn. He has won one Academy Award, two Grammy Awards and several Golden Globes.
Williams is responsible for a number of enduring pop hits from the 1970s, including "(Just an) Old Fashioned Love Song", a U.S. top-ten hit for the band Three Dog Night in late 1971, and a number of Carpenters hits, most notably "We've Only Just Begun", which has since become a cover-band standard and de rigueur for weddings throughout North America. An early collaboration with Roger Nichols, "Someday Man", was covered by The Monkees (in which he also auditioned for but did not make it) on a 1969 single, and was the first Monkees' release not published by Screen Gems.
A frequent cowriter of Williams was musician Kenneth Ascher; their songs together included the popular children's favorite "The Rainbow Connection", sung by Kermit the Frog in The Muppet Movie.
Williams has been active in the field of recovery from addictions. He has been divorced twice, is currently married, and has two children. Paul's brother, Mentor Williams, is a successful songwriter in his own right and penned Dobie's Gray's 1972 hit, "Drift Away."
He made numerous television appearances in the 1970s and 1980s, including guest appearances on Match Game '79, The Love Boat, The Hardy Boys and The Muppet Show.
He is also known as the voice of the Penguin in Batman: The Animated Series.