[Dixielandjazz] Clarence Williams III

Anton Crouch a.crouch at unsw.edu.au
Wed May 7 00:39:51 PDT 2003

Hello all

Horst van Paige has certainly put the cat among the pigeons with his report
of actor Clarence Williams III's statement about his ancestry.
Sentimentalists (like me) have long accepted the received opinion that CW
III and CW I (the jazz man) are related.

The "CW III is Eva Taylor's and CW I's grandson" view is given in the
Internet Movie Data Base, Red Hot Jazz Archive, and All Music Guide. Other
on-line publications which touch on the matter are All Movie Guide (which
says that CW III is the son of a musician and was raised by his
grandmother) and Filmbug (which says that CW III born in Harlem into a
family of jazz musicians). Tom Lord's book "Clarence Williams" (the
standard work on CW I) has no reference to a grandson.

The absence, in Lord, of a reference to a grandson has always been a worry
and I have, in the past, rationalised it away by calculating that Eva's and
Clarence's son (Clarence Jr) would have been only 16 or 17 in 1939, when CW
III was born. Could Eva and Clarence have played down the fact that their
teenage son had become a father?

This is all unsupported conjecture however. For me, it's time to accept
that there is no verifiable evidence that CW III and CW I are related and,
on the basis of Horst's post, that they are not.

All the best

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