Vicki Flaxman : Facts About Van Williams' Wife

Vicki Flaxman is a name well known in the surfing world and is also known as being the widow of famous and former actor Van Williams. Vicki did not just become popular because she got married to Van Williams, she had already made a name for herself being a female surfer. 

Vicki Flaxman Biography, Wikipedia

Van Williams wife, Vicki Flaxman was born in Malibu, a city in California, United States. Details regarding her family and upbringing is unavailable. As a young lady, she joined a handful of ladies from her birthplace, Malibu in surfing.

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Her career in surfing was within the 1940s and 1950s. She rode on a surf board designed by Joe Quigg called lightweight balsa “girl boards”.

She learnt how to ride a surf board in the early 1940s and at the end of summer 1950, she was able to ride more than most men surfers in Malibu. She was a regular footed surfer, described by Joe Quigg as ”aggressive and athletic”.

In 1954, Malibu legend Matt Kivlin built her a balsa semi-gun. The wood was purchased at General Veneer, where it was glued up and then brought home and shaped in the backyard by Kivlin. Bunny Kahanamoku painted a tiki on the deck. Taking the board on one of her annual summer sojourns to Hawaii; Rabbit Kekai saw the board and was anxious to ride it. He gave it his “thumbs up” approval. The board donated was donated to SHACC by Vicki Flaxman and is part of our well-rounded quiver of Kivlin balsas; including this semi gun, a Malibu Chip, and a Makaha model.

Much is not known of her childhood and early days before getting married to Van Williams.

Vicki Flaxman and Van Williams

Vicki Flaxman tied the knot with Van William in 1959. Before they got married, the couple had been married before and have both gone through their fair share of divorce and separation. The couple were blessed with two wonderful children together alongside Vicki’s child from the marriage before Van to Jeff Richards and Van’s twin daughters also from his previous marriage to Drucilla Greenhaw. 

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At the time of death of her husband, Van had nine grandchildren. He had twin daughters from a previous marriage to Drucilla Greenhaw, which also included four grandchildren. In 1988, Williams owned houses in Sun Valley, Idaho, Fort Worth (which included a ranch he inherited from his parents), and Hawaii. 

When asked about those wonderful houses, he used to say that it was the fruits of good investments. Williams’s longtime friend and neighbor Pat Priest (The Munsters), said he was her mentor. Vicki and van Williams were married for 57.9 years before Van kicked the bucket.

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When Van died, it was the producer Kevin Burns who broke the news. He revealed on December 5, 2016, that Williams died on November 28, 2016, from kidney failure. Van died at the age of 82 in Scottsdale, Arizona a southern US state.

Vicki Flaxman husband

Vicki Flaxman late husband, Van Williams was actually born as Van Zandt Jarvis Williams on February 27, 1934 dying in 2016. Van was born in Fort Worth, Texas in the United States of America. He was the son of Priscilla Anne (Maiden name Jarvis) and Bernard Cardwell Williams. He grew up on a ranch outside Fort Worth and later studied animal husbandry and business at Texas Christian University. Due to differences on how the ranch should be maintained and run between him and his father, he moved to Hawaii in 1956.

After moving to Hawaii in 1956 and becoming a diving instructor there, Van was discovered there in 1957 by producer Mike Todd, who urged him to come to Hollywood.

Vicki Flaxman was one of the few females in Malibu who surfed in the 1940s and early 1950s. She was bestowed the honor of riding the lightweight balsa “girl boards” shaped by the famous Joe Quigg. 

Vicki learned to ride at Malibu in the summer of 1949 on the custom-made Joe Quigg balsa. “Vicki was athletic and aggressive,” Quigg later recalled. “In a couple of months, she learned to surf better than most men.” Her first session was tandem surfing with legendary waterman Pete Peterson.

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Many say she was part of a small group of teenagers who rode “girl boards” that means thinner, lighter, easier-turning balsa boards, forerunners to the Malibu chip, which led to the development of the high-performance climb-and-drop style of surfing.

Van Williams was an American actor mostly recognized for his leading role as Kenny Madison in both Warner Bros. television detective series Bourbon Street Beat which ran from 1959 to 1960 and and its sequel, Surfside 6 which also ran from 1960 to 1962. He starred with renowned and loved Bruce Lee for one season as his partner Kato, in the television series The Green Hornet, which was broadcast during the 1966 to 1967 season. 


Van retired from acting in 1982 and opened a communications company in Santa Monica, California in USA. The company leased time on six two-way radio repeater stations. He was also as a longtime reserve deputy sheriff with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and worked at the substation in Malibu, California.

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