Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian in The Rise of Skywalker.

Once upon a time, back in 1965, Nichelle Nichols broke the color barrier in space. In 1980, Billy Dee Williams broke it again, when he co-starred in The Empire Strikes Back as handsome rogue Lando Calrissian.

Billy Dee Williams was born April 6, 1837 in New York City, NY, USA as William December Williams. At 1.83 meters, he fits most women’s definition of Tall, Dark, and Handsome. Billy Dee Williams is more than just eye candy; in addition to bring an award winning actor, he is a respected artist, and the author or co-author of two novels.

He made his Broadway debut at the age of seven in The Firebrand of Florence. After graduating from Manhattan’s High School of Music and Art, Williams won a painting scholarship to the International Academy of Fine Arts and Design. He turned to acting to finance his art supplies, and it was worth the effort: he won a Hallgarten Prize for his painting, and his artwork has been displayed in galleries around the world.

Billy Dee Williams made his film debut in The Last Angry Man in 1959. He gained widespread public attention and an Emmy nomination playing football player Gale Sayers in Brian’s Song (1971).

His most famous role was unquestionably Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars franchise, making his debut in that role in The Empire Strikes Back in 1980. He made his mark an indelible one in that first scene in The Empire Strikes Back when Lando and Han meet for the first time since Han won his ship as a gambling debt.

Other major roles included Brian in Mahogany (1975), Louis McKay in Lady Sings the Blues (1972), Sgt. Matthew Fox in Nighthawks (1981). He shone in the short-lived Double Dare as Billy Diamond in the failed pilot Shooting Stars as Douglas Hawk. He was a regular in General Hospital as Toussaint DuBois. Of especial interest to SciFi.Radio fans was his role as Harvey Dent in Batman (1989). In the Lego Batman Movie (2017) he voiced Two-Face, Dent’s criminal alter ego. He voiced Admiral Bitchface in Titan Maximum. Williams also portrayed Burton Hardesty in 18 Wheels of Justice.

Billy Dee Williams has been married three times, divorced twice, and has two sons and a daughter, and thus far, one grandhild.

A very happyy birthday to you, Mr. Williams! The world is a better place for your having passed this way.

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Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as short stories in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, “Supernatural Colorado”, “Barbarian Crowns”, “Cat Tails””Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.