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Billy Dee Williams Biography

Birth Name:
William December Williams
Birth Place:
New York, New York, United States

Fast Facts

  • Made his stage debut at age 7
  • Studied at Sidney Poitier's acting workshop in the late '50s
  • Breakthrough roles were Gale Sayers in the classic 1971 TV-movie Brian's Song and Louis McKay in Lady Sings the Blues (1972), opposite Diana Ross
  • Best known for his work as Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983)
  • He was the first African-American to appear in the Star Wars films
  • Made a cameo as himself in a 2007 episode of Lost, portraying an actor on the show-within-a-show Exposé
  • Trained as a painter and has had several exhibitions of his work


  • 2001Independent Spirit Awards-Best Supporting Male: nominated
  • 1972Emmy-Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: nominated


  • Hanako Williams -- Daughter
  • Miyako Williams -- Daughter
  • Audrey Sellers -- Ex-wife
  • Teruko Nakagami Williams -- Ex-wife
  • December Williams -- Father
  • Loretta Williams -- Mother
  • Loretta Williams -- Sister
  • Corey Williams -- Son