Billy Dee Williams


Billy Dee Williams

Infobox actor


caption =
birthname = William December Williams, Jr.
birthdate = birth date and age|1937|4|6
birthplace = New York City, New York, United States
othername =
yearsactive = 1959 - present
homepage =
academyawards =
emmyawards =
spouse =

Billy Dee Williams (born April 6, 1937) is an American actor, artist, and writer, best known for his role as Lando Calrissian in the "Star Wars" film series.

Early life

Williams was born William December Williams, Jr. in New York City, New York, the son of Loretta, a West Indian-born elevator operator from Montserrat, and William December Williams, Sr. a Texas-born janitor. [ [http://www.filmreference.com/film/79/Billy-Dee-Williams.html Billy Dee Williams Biography (1937-) ] ] [ [http://www.nerf-herders-anonymous.net/BillyDeeWilliams.html S W A D - Williams, Billy Dee ] ] He has a twin sister, Loretta, and grew up in Harlem, where he was raised by his maternal grandmother while his parents worked at several jobs. Williams graduated from Manhattan's School of Performing Arts where he was a classmate of Diahann Carroll, who coincidentally played his wife on the 1980s prime-time soap "Dynasty".

Career

Film

He made his film debut in 1959 in "The Last Angry Man" starring Paul Muni in which he portrayed a teen delinquent. His first big break was in the acclaimed television movie, "Brian's Song" in which he played Gale Sayers. His next hit came in 1972 when he played Billie Holliday's husband Louis McKay in Motown Productions' Holiday biopic "Lady Sings the Blues". Diana Ross starred in "Lady Sings the Blues" opposite Williams; Motown paired the two of them again three years later in "Mahogany".

His most famous role is Lando Calrissian, which he played in ' and '. He later reprised this role, when he lent his voice for the character in the 2002 video game ', as well as the audio dramatization of "Dark Empire". Williams had originally auditioned for the role of Han Solo during the casting of '.

Williams appeared in numerous other films, most recently lending his voice to "Oedipus" (2004). One of his most notable roles was in 1989's "Batman" as district attorney Harvey Dent. Williams originally took the role believing that it would land him in a sequel playing the supervillain Two-Face and arranged a pay or play contract in preparation for the role. However, the studio decided to pay the penalty fee instead when the time came for the third installment, "Batman Forever", in order to cast Tommy Lee Jones for the role.

Television

William's television work included a recurring guest-starring role on the short-lived show "Gideon's Crossing". He has had a brief cameo in the hit TV show "Scrubs" Season 5, where he plays the godfather of Julie (Mandy Moore). J.D.'s best friend Turk hugs him calling him "Lando" even though he wants to be called Billy D. He is also well-known for his appearance in advertisements for Colt 45, a low-cost brand of malt liquor, for which he received much criticism. Williams responded indifferently to the criticism of his appearances in the liquor commercials. When questioned about his appearances he was quoted as saying, "I drink, you drink. Hell, if marijuana was legal, I'd appear in a commercial for it."

Williams was paired with actress Marla Gibbs on three different TV shows: "The Jeffersons" (Gibbs' character, Florence, had a crush on Williams and challenged him on everything because she thought he was an impostor); "227" (her character, Mary, pretending to be royalty, met Williams at a banquet); and "The Hughleys" (both Gibbs and Williams portrayed Darryl's parents). (In one memorable scene on "The Jeffersons", Williams, waiting for Florence to hand over his driver's license to him, repeats the line "Do you want my arm to fall off?" Florence, now convinced that he "is" Williams, yells "that's the line you said to Diana Ross in "Lady Sings the Blues"! He then replies "I got another one right!")

Williams made a special guest appearance on the hit sketch comedy show, "In Living Color" in 1990. He portrayed Pastor Dan in an episode of "That '70s Show". In this episode entitled "Baby Don't You Do It" (2004) his character is obsessed with "Star Wars", and uses this to help counsel Eric Forman and Donna Pinciotti about their premarital relationship.

Williams made a cameo appearance as himself on the TV series "Lost" in the episode "Exposé". He also appears regularly on short clips on the "Jimmy Kimmel Live" as a semi-parody of himself.

He played Toussaint Dubois for "" in 2007. One of his more recent appearances was in the fourth season of "Mind of Mencia". In the "Family Guy" episode "Road to Rupert", an animated version of Williams is portrayed on the "cool" side of the pillow.

Video games

He also plays a live action character, GDI Director Redmond Boyle, in the video game ', making him the second former Star Wars actor to appear in a Command and Conquer game, with the first being James Earl Jones as GDI General James Solomon in '.

Art

Even before he began acting, Williams attended the National Academy of Fine Arts and Design in New York. In the late 1980's, he resumed painting. Some of his work can be seen at his online gallery [http://www.bdwworldart.com BDW World Art] . He has had solo exhibitions in various galleries around the U.S., and his work hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, The Smithsonian Institution, and The Schomburg Museum. The [http://www.monkinstitute.org/gallery.php?Page=GAL-P covers] of the Thelonious Monk Competition programs since 1990 are by him.

Personal life

Williams has been married three times, first to Audrey Sellers, with whom he had a son Corey (b. 1960). They were divorced some years later, after which he apparently became quite depressed. ".... there was a period when I was very despondent, broke, depressed, my first marriage was on the rocks." [ [http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19751026/PEOPLE/510260301 Roger Ebert Interview, October 26, 1975 (retrieved Aug 2, 2008.)] ] . Williams was briefly married to actress Marlene Clark in the late 1960s, divorced in 1971. He married Teruko Nakagami on December 27, 1972. (She brought a daughter, Miyako (b. 1962), from her previous marriage to musician Wayne Shorter.) They have a daughter Hanako (b. 1974). They filed for divorce in 1993 [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_n10_v84/ai_14070612 Jet, July 5, 1993] ] , but were reported to have reconciled in 1997 [ [http://www.hollywood.com/celebrity/Billy_Dee_Williams/197037 Hollywood.com] ] . [ [http://www.filmreference.com/film/79/Billy-Dee-Williams.html filmreference.com] [http://www.mahalo.com/Billy_Dee_Williams mahalo.com] Camera]

He is represented by famed superagent Doan's Dog, who has managed the careers of several African-American actors such as Bill Duke, Sinbad, John Amos, Arsenio Hall, and Jaleel White.

Filmography

Features:
*"The Last Angry Man" (1959)
*"The Out-of-Towners" (1970)
*"The Final Comedown" (1972)
*"Lady Sings the Blues" (1972)
*"Hit!" (1973)
*"The Take" (1974)
*"Mahogany" (1975)
*"The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings" (1976)
*"Scott Joplin" (1977)
*"" (1980)
*"Nighthawks" (1981)
*"Marvin & Tige" (1983)
*"" (1983)
*"Fear City" (1984)
*"Number One with a Bullet" (1987)
*"Deadly Illusion" (1987)
*"Batman" (1989)
*"Secret Agent OO Soul" (1990)
*"Driving Me Crazy" (1991)
*"Giant Steps" (1992)
*"Alien Intruder" (1993)
*"Steel Sharks" (1996)
*"The Prince" (1996)
*"Mask of Death" (1996)
*"Moving Target" (1997)
*"The Contract" (1998)
*"Woo" (1998)
*"Fear Runs Silent" (1999)
*"The Visit" (2000)
*"The Ladies Man" (2000)
*"Good Neighbor" (2001)
*"The Last Place on Earth" (2002)
*"Undercover Brother" (2002)
*"The Maintenance Man" (2004)
*"Constellation" (2005)
*"Hood of Horror" (2006)
*"Fanboys" (2008)
*"Barry Munday" (2008)
*"This Bitter Earth" (2009)
*"iMurders" (2009)Short Subjects:
*"Very Heavy Love" (2001)
*"Oedipus" (2004) (voice)

Television work

*"Guiding Light" (cast member in 1966)
*"Lost Flight" (1969)
*"Carter's Army" (1970)
*"Brian's Song" (1971)
*"The Glass House" (1972)
*"Christmas Lilies of the Field" (1979)
*"The Hostage Tower" (1980)
*"Children of Divorce" (1980)
*"" (1983)
*"Shooting Stars" (1983)
*"Chiefs" (1983) (miniseries)
*"Time Bomb" (1984)
*"The Imposter" (1984)
*"Dynasty" (cast member from 1984-1985)
*"Double Dare" (1985) (canceled after 3 episodes)
*"Blood, Sweat and Tears" (1986) (unsold pilot)
*"The Right of the People" (1986)
*"Oceans of Fire" (1986)
*"Courage" (1986)
*"" (1987)
*"The Return of Desperado" (1988)
*"Dangerous Passion" (1990)
*"" (1992)
*"Marked for Murder" (1993)
*"Percy & Thunder" (1993)
*"Message from Nam" (1993)
*"" (1994) (miniseries)
*"Triplecross" (1995)
*"Falling for You" (1995)
*"The Fourth King" (1997)
*"Hard Time" (1998)
*"18 Wheels of Justice" (1998)
*"Epoch: Evolution" (2000-2001)
*"Scrubs" (2006) (1 episode)
*"" (cast member in 2007)
*"Mind of Mencia" (2008)
*"Private Practice" (2008) (1 episode)
*"Bring Back... Star Wars (2008)

Video games

* "" (As Lando Calrissian) Fact|date=July 2008
* "" (As GDI Director Redmond Boyle) For his performance as Boyle, Williams himself ranked Game Informer's eighth biggest dork of 2007. Fact|date=July 2008

Books

* PSI/Net (1999), ISBN 978-0-312-86766-9
* JUST/In Time (2001), ISBN 978-0-8125-7240-7
* Twilight: A Novel (2002), ISBN 978-0-312-87909-9

Further reading

*Nishikawa, Kinohi. "Billy Dee Williams." "The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature". Ed. Hans Ostrom and J. David Macey, Jr. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005. 1742-43.

References

External links

*imdb name|0001850|Billy Dee Williams

Persondata
NAME= Williams, Billy Dee
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Williams, William December, Jr.
SHORT DESCRIPTION=American actor and writer
DATE OF BIRTH= April 6, 1937
PLACE OF BIRTH= New York City, New York, United States
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=


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