Billy Dee Williams

bdeewilliams1Billy Dee Williams (born William December Williams, Jr. on April 6, 1937) is an American actor, artist, singer and writer, best known for his role as Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars films.
He made his film debut in 1959 in The Last Angry Man starring Paul Muni, in which he portrayed a juvenile delinquent. His first big break was in the acclaimed television movie, Brian’s Song in which he played Gale Sayers. In 1972 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 Star Wars Episode Billy Dee Williams youngV: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. He later reprised this role, when he lent his voice for the character in the 2002 video game Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, as well as the audio dramatization of Dark Empire and the National Public Radio adaptation of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. Williams had originally auditioned for the role of Han Solo during the casting of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
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.
Billy Dee WilliamsIn 1961, Williams recorded a jazz LP produced by Prestige Records entitled Let’s Misbehave on which he sang several swing standards. The album is currently out of print.
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.” 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. 1973). They filed for divorce in 1993, but were reported to have reconciled in 1997.