Billy Dee Williams returned to the “Star Wars” universe as Lando Calrissian in the final installment of the Skywalker franchise.
Billy Dee Williams was a long-anticipated and much-needed addition to the cast of heroes in the “Star Wars” universe. His considerable presence brought many viewers to the seats of the theater to see “The Empire Strikes Back” who may not have originally purchased a ticket. His overwhelming popularity and powerful performance opposite Diana Ross in the films “Mahogony” and “Lady Sings The Blues” led many women flocking to see his character, Lando Calrissian, in George Lucas’ space fantasy.
Billy Dee’s career has encompassed so much, including the films “Undercover Brother”, “Nighthawks”, “Bingo Long” and “Bryan’s Song”. His introduction in the “Star Wars” trilogy allowed Billy Dee to continue his role in “Return of the Jedi”; as General Calrissian, piloting the Millennium Falcon directly into the second Death Star destroying it from within. His popularity in the fantasy Sci-Fi genre continued when he took the role of Gotham’s district attorney Harvey Dent in Tim Burton’s “Batman”, lending his charming good looks and suave attitude to the film. His “Batman” legacy continued finally when he got to voice the character of “Two-Face” in the “LEGO: BATMAN” movie!
Billy Dee Williams has been nominated for many industry awards including The Emmy, The Independent Spirit Award as well as winning the TV Land Award and the Image Award! Other amazing performances can be seen in the Indy film “The Visit” where he portrayed a father whose son is dying of AIDS in prison and for the same director, a film called “Constellation.
Aside from his prestigious film career, Billy Dee could also be seen on the television series “Dynasty”, “18 Wheels of Justice”, “Night Shift”, “Gideon’s Crossing”, “LOST” and more recently has had a few unforgettable roles on series such as “NCIS” and “White Collar”. Plus no one will forget his smooth voice and cool attitude as the official spokesman in the commercials for COLT 45 malt liquor…. “It works every time.”
Billy Dee has a lighter side from serious acting and is “cool” poking fun at himself! Never afraid to laugh at himself, he has appeared as “himself” on “The Jeffersons”, “Scrubs”, “Jimmy Kimmel Live”, and “Modern Family”.
He has also co-starred on “Glee” and the remake of “Dirty Dancing”. And speaking of Dancing… Billy Dee was one of the celebrities chosen to participate on the highly popular TV series “Dancing with the Stars”, an experience he says was one of the best of his life and one that was “a lot of work”!
Billy Dee has kept the character of Lando Calrissian alive for all his “Star Wars” fans! He has voiced the character for numerous incarnations of video games and a Las Vegas slot machine as well as TV series including “Robot Chicken”, The Cleveland Show”, “Star Wars Detours”, “Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles”, “the Lego Movie” and for Disney’s “Star Wars Rebels”.
His acting career, however, does not completely engross his time. Billy Dee is also an accomplished award-winning artist whose paintings are displayed around the globe! The Smithsonian Institute even owns one of his paintings! He’s been nominated for a Guggenheim Award and has won the Hallgarten Award (these are considered the “Oscars’ of the art world).
If acting and painting weren’t enough he’s also co-authored a few books including a love story called “Twilight” (with author Elizabeth Atkins Bowman) and the sci-fi thriller “Psi Net” (with author Rob MacGregor) and its sequels.