Charlie Williams MBE (23 December 1928—2 September 2006) was a black English professional footballer and stand-up comedian.
Williams was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire. His father was a coalminer, who had emigrated from Barbados and settled in Royston. After leaving school, Charlie worked at Upton Colliery. He played football for the colliery team, before turning professional, and signing for Doncaster Rovers in 1948. However, it was not until 1955 that, playing centre-half, he became an established first team player. He played 171 times for Rovers in total.
Following his retirement from the game in 1959, Williams tried his hand as a singer in local working men’s clubs, but it was his comic chat between the songs that was best received, so he decided to move into comedy full-time. He eventually became Britain’s first well-known black television comedian; he regularly appeared on The Comedians, and from 1973 to 1974 he was the host of The Golden Shot. His Yorkshire accent made him unmistakeable.
Williams was created a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1999 for his charity work. In 2004 Charlie Williams was voted Doncaster Rovers’ all-time cult hero by viewers of the BBC’s Football Focus programme.
Willliams died on 2 September 2006 in Barnsley General Hospital. He had suffered from Parkinson’s disease and dementia for some time. His age was reported by the BBC as 78, and the Daily Telegraph as 76.