Billy Dee Williams (Actor) as Lando Calrissian - Star Wars
Updated: 6/9/11

Name: Billy Dee Williams

Born: April 6, 1937, New York City, New York

Claim To Fame: He is best known for his role as Lando Calrissian in the original Star Wars trilogy.

Family Life: Williams was first married to Audrey Sellers, and they had a son Corey together in 1960. They later divorced. Williams was briefly married to actress Marlene Clark, but they divorced in 1971.

He has been married to Teruko Nakagami since 1972. They have a daughter together, Hanako (born 1973), and his wife also has a daughter named Miyako (born 1962) from a previous marriage to musician Wayne Shorter.

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Info: Williams graduated from Manhattan's School of Performing Arts and began acting soon afterwards. On Broadway, he appeared in the 1960 play version of The Cool Word, in A Taste of Honey in 1961, and as Martin Luther King, Jr. in a 1976 production of I Have a Dream.

In 1959, he made his film debut in The Last Angry Man, and got his first big break in the biographical TV movie, Brian's Song in 1971, in which he played Chicago Bears star football player Gale Sayers. His biggest role is that of Lando Calrissian, which he played in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.

He appeared as district attorney Harvey Dent in the 1989 Batman film, that was planned to develop into Dent's alter-ego, the villain Two-Face, in sequels, but never came to pass. Williams' character was discarded and replaced with original villain Max Shreck.

Williams has made several guest appearances on television over the years. In 1993, he appeared on the spin off to The Cosby Show, A Different World as Langston Paige, a grumpy landlord. He made a special guest appearance on the hit sketch comedy show, In Living Color, in 1990. He appeared on an episode of That '70s Show as Pastor Dan, who uses an obsession with Star Wars to help counsel Eric Forman and Donna Pinciotti about their premarital relationship.

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Trivia: Has a twin sister, Loretta.

Was an accomplished art student even before his acting career began. Has had professional gallery showings where his oil canvases have sold for tens of thousands of dollars.

Appeared in the music video and sang in the choir on the song "Voices That Care."

Was arrested in L.A. after police received a call from his live-in girlfriend accusing him of battery. Williams was charged with cohabitational abuse and released on $50,000 bail.

In 1961, he recorded a jazz LP produced by Prestige Records entitled Let's Misbehave, on which he sang several swing standards.

Appeared in advertisements for Colt 45 (a brand of malt liquor) in the 1980s and early 1990s, for which he received much criticism.

was paired with actress Marla Gibbs on three different TV shows: The Jeffersons, 227, and The Hughleys.

Made a cameo appearance as himself on the TV series Lost in the episode "Expos?".

Also appears regularly on short clips on the Jimmy Kimmel Live as a semi-parody of himself.

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Where Are They Now: Williams appeared in the role of Toussaint Dubois for General Hospital: Night Shift in 2007 and 2008, and later reprised the role in June 2009. In July 2010, he voiced a fictionalized version of himself for the animated series The Boondocks.

In February 2011, he made a guest appearance on USA Network's White Collar as Ford, an old friend of Neal Caffrey's landlady June, played by Diahann Carroll.

Williams voiced Lando Calrissian in the video game Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Star Wars Battlefront as well as the spin-off Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron. He has recently played a live-action character, GDI Director Redmond Boyle, in the game Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars.

He is currently a cast member of Diary of a Single Mom, a web based original series directed by award-winning filmmaker Robert Townsend, which debuted on in 2009.

He is still involved with art, and some of his work can be seen at his online gallery 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 covers of the Thelonious Monk Competition programs since 1990 are by him.

Write To Billy Dee Williams:
Billy Dee Williams
18411 Hatteras Street, #204
Tarzana, CA 91356-1963

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