State Legislator and County Commissioner
Date of Birth: August 26, 1929
Place of Birth: Chicago, IL
Arrival in Las Vegas: 1960
Interviewed by: Suzanne Becker and Joanne Goodwin
Myrna Williams was born in Chicago in August of 1929, to William and Betty Tormé. While her father was working as a vaudeville dancer, he met Myrna’s mother, Betty. When vaudeville died out, he became a shop steward, working for the union. When Myrna was ten years-old the family moved to Hollywood, California, where her older brother Mel, a singer, was under contract with MGM.
Shortly after Myrna turned 21 years-old, she moved to New York City to work for Decca Records, the label of entertainers such as Bing Crosby, Al Jolson, and Louie Armstrong. While in New York in 1953, she met a jazz drummer named David Williams, and married him soon after their first encounter.
Myrna, David, and their young daughter Indy moved to Las Vegas in 1959, planning to stay for a short time while David had a gig at the Sands. The couple liked the city and decided to make it their home. Myrna’s involvement in Nevada politics began almost immediately upon arrival, when she became a member of the Young Democrats and soon began working on campaigns. She soon struck up a close friendships with Harriet Trudell and Flora Dungan.
In 1969, Myrna enrolled at UNLV. Over the course of her time at the university, she earned an associate degree in law enforcement and a B.A in social work. It was also during this time that she also became involved with the ERA, welfare rights, and the Campaign for Choice, ultimately leading to her election to the Nevada State Assembly and the Clark County Commission. She taught in UNLV’s department of social work for eleven years.
In 2007 the Cambridge Center was designated as the Myrna Tormé Williams Community Campus, a fitting testament to Williams’ dedication to community involvement, and improving people’s lives and opportunities throughout Clark County.