Williams was born in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California, to Francesca (née Bellini) and Beachard Williams. The family moved to Dallas, Texas, when she was a year old and returned to the San Fernando Valley, when she was 10. She has one sibling, a sister, Carol Ann. She graduated from Birmingham High School in 1965. Her classmates included financier Michael Milken, actress Sally Field, and talent agent Michael Ovitz.  She attended Los Angeles City College.