Billy Dee Williams
Billy Dee Williams grew up in the Harlem section of New York City in a family that nurtured artistic expression in all forms. At his mother’s urging, at the young age of seven, Billy Dee made his acting debut on Broadway in the FIREBRAND OF FLORENCE, starring Lotte Lenya.
Billy has acted in over 100 films, and is immediately recognized for his significant role as the dashingly handsome Lando Calrission in the Star Wars epics THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RETURN OF THE JEDI. 36 incredible years later, he will reprise the iconic role in the next Star Wars installment, Star Wars Episode IX- THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, which opens on December 20. Billy has received critical acclaim for his portrayal as the elegant romantic lead in both LADY SINGS THE BLUES and MAHOGANY, with Diana Ross. He has played pivotal roles in NIGHTHAWKS, BATMAN and the historically based story BINGO LONG TRAVELING ALL-STARS & MOTOR KINGS. His acting talent enriched the comedy LADY’S MAN as well as the compelling drama THE VISIT where the Independent Spirit Awards acknowledged Billy’s superb performance as Best Supporting Actor. Among the many other films that include Billy’s acting talents are HIT, UNDERCOVER BROTHER, the award winning short film OEDIPUS and the film CONSTELLATION, which showcases many of Billy’s own paintings, and recently FANBOYS.
Billy is recognized for his outstanding performances on Broadway in A TASTE OF HONEY with Joan Plowright and Angela Lansbury, FENCES and as Martin Luther King in I HAD A DREAM. He has also played in THE EXONERATED, MAINTENANCE MAN, and IF THESE HIPS COULD TALK. Nominated for an Emmy for his memorable work in the made-for-television film, BRIAN’S SONG, he has created roles for numerous television series including DYNASTY, THE JEFFERSON'S, GIDEON’S CROSSING, THE HURLEY'S, HALF AND HALF, STREET TIME, SCRUB, and THAT 70’S SHOW.
Billy, distinguished by his natural charismatic and urbane charm, became the perfect choice to be the spokesperson for Colt 45’s satirically entertaining commercials, making Billy known as the smooth “Colt 45 Guy”, and for Avon to develop a new fragrance in his name, UNDENIABLE by Billy Dee Williams. Billy is a favorite return guest on comedic episodes on the Jimmy Kimmel show.