Williamson was born in New Bern, North Carolina, the younger son of Lillie Faye (née Pittman), a storyteller, and Ottis Wade Williamson, a fisherman. He lived in the neighboring coastal community of Oriental, but before he started school his family moved to Aransas Pass, Texas, later relocating to Fulton, Texas, both near Corpus Christi. Williamson's family returned to Oriental before Kevin's high school years. Obsessed from a young age with movies—especially those of Steven Spielberg -- he applied to New York University's film school and was accepted but because he could not afford the tuition, he attended a school closer to home, East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, where he took a B.A. in theater arts.