Billy Dee Williams Biography
Billy Dee Williams (full name – William December Williams Jr.) is an American Actor and TV Personality who is best known for appearing in the Star Wars franchise (1980), portraying Lando Calrissian. He is also well-known for starring in “Return of the Jedi” (1983) and “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980).
Billy Dee Williams Education
Dee Williams is an alumnus of Booker T. Washington Junior High School. While there, he always aspired to be a painter. He transferred from there and attended the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan. He majored in arts and concentrated on visual arts there and graduated in the year 1955.
Dee Williams got a 2-year scholarship for the National Academy of Design (then – the National Academy of Fine Arts and Design) in New York while at LaGuardia High School. There he studied with an emphasis on “classical principles of painting”. Dee Williams earned a Hallgarten Prize for painting in the mid-’50s while on his scholarship. To fund his painting art supplies, he went back to acting, including TV, movies, and stage. He resumed painting; his work has since been shown in collections and galleries global-wide.
Billy Dee Williams Age
Dee Williams is 85 years old as of 2022. He was born on April 6, 1937, in New York, New York, United States. He celebrates his birthday on the 6th of April every year.
Billy Dee Williams Height
Dee Williams stands at an approximate height of 6 feet 0 inches (1.83 m).
Billy Dee Williams Family
Billy Dee Williams Parents
Dee Williams was born to her late parents; William December Williams Sr. (father) and Loretta Anne (mother). His mom was an elevator operator at the Lyceum Theatre. She was also an aspiring performer from Montserrat. She was born in 1915 and passed away in 2016 at the age of 104. Dee Williams’s dad was an African-American caretaker, with some Native American ancestry from Texas. He was born in 1909 and passed away in 1973 at the age of 64. Dee Williams’s mom studied opera for a couple of years ad became an accomplished opera star wanting to star in films.
Billy Dee Williams Siblings
Dee Williams grew up in Harlem, New York on 110th Street, between Lenox and 5th alongside his identical twin sister, Loretta. The 2 siblings were brought up by their maternal grandmother while their dad and mom were working a number of jobs. Since his parents were richly cultured, Dee Williams and Loretta were exposed to theatre, painting, drawing, and other creative arts, while they were growing up.
Dee Williams made his 1st appearance on Broadway in March 1945 where he portrayed a page in “The Firebrand of Florence,” “Ira Gershwin,” and “Kurt Weill”’s operetta starring Lotte Lenya. His mother was working at the theatre at the time and she volunteered Dee Williams for the part which he found boring.
Billy Dee Williams Wife / Spouse
Dee Williams is married to Teruko Nakagami. They tied the knot on December 27, 1972. Information about their wedding is under review. In the year 1993, Dee Williams filed for an amicable divorce from his wife, but they reconciled and were again living together by the year 1997.
Billy Dee Williams Ex-Husbands
Dee Williams is in his 3rd marriage with Teruko Nakagami. He was first married to Audrey Sellers in the year 1959 and after some years they divorced due to unknown reasons. Their divorce brought depression to Dee Williams. He later on married Marlene Clark (actress and model), with whom they tied the knot in the year 1968 in Hawaii. He and Marlene divorced in the year 1971, also due to unknown reasons.
Billy Dee Williams Children
Dee Williams has a total of 2 children from different marriages. He and his current wife Teruko Nakagami take great pride in being dad and mom to their one daughter, Hanako Williams. She is 50 years old as of 2023 having been born in the year 1973. Dee Williams and his first wife Audrey Sellers were blessed with a son, Corey Dee Williams (actor and producer) Corey is best known for starring in Secret Agent OO Soul (1990), In Search of Tomorrow (2022), and InHouse-CON (2020). He is 62 years old as of 2022 having been born on August 14, 1960.
Dee Williams has also raised his stepdaughter, Miyako, who is from his current wife’s (Teruko Nakagami) previous marriage to Wayne Shorter (musician). Miyako is 61 years old as of 2023 having been born in the year 1962.
Billy Dee Williams Net Worth
Dee Williams has an annual estimated net worth of $9 Million.
Billy Dee Williams Awards and Honors
Dee Williams holds numerous awards and recognitions. For Best Actor in a Leading Role in “Gale Sayers” in Brian’s Song, she was nominated a Primetime Emmy Award in the year 1972. In the year 1984, he was inducted into the Black Filmmaker’s Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame the following year. In the early ’80s, Dee Williams was nominated for Saturn Awards from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films for “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.”
Dee Williams was nominated for Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male in “The Visit” in the year 2001. He also holds a Lifetime Achievement Honor, a Circa, 4 NAACP Image Awards, Black Reel Awards, and 2 Indie Series Awards. He also holds 2 TV Land Awards. From African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), he holds a Special Achievement Award. His other honors include; being nominated for the Behind the Voice Actors Feature Film Voice Acting Award, and Hollywood Legacy Award (for American Black Film Festival).
Billy Dee Williams Books / Author
Dee Williams has authored 3 books;
- “Batman ’89” (2021–22) – a comic book that uses her likeness and shows the transformation of Harvey Dent into Two-Face.
- “JUST/In Time” (2001)
- “PSI/Net” (1999) – a novel he co-wrote with Rob MacGregor based on an actual government program of psychic spying.
Billy Dee Williams Movies / Films
Dee Williams is also known for starring in “The Rise of Skywalker” (2019). He has marked among the longest intervals between onscreen portrayals of a character by the same actor in the history of American film. His first film appearance was in “The Last Angry Man” (1959). Dee Williams earned his 1st national attention in the TV movie Brian’s Song (1971). He has made appearances in about 70 movies in 60 years, including popular ad critically acclaimed films like “Mahogany” (1975), “Sings the Blues” (1972), and “Nighthawks” (1981).
Dee Williams became the 1st actor of black/African descent with a significant on-screen role in the Star Wars franchise, in Return of the Jedi (1983) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980). He voiced ‘Lando’ in the National Public Radio adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back, animated series, and video games. Dee Williams has also appeared in Batman (1989) portraying attorney Harvey Dent. This was a role that was developed into a villainous alter-ego “Two-Face,” which Dee Williams voiced for “The Lego Batman Movie” (2017).
In the year 1960, he re-joined Broadway in the adaptation of “The Cool World.” Also, in the same year, Dee Williams appeared in “A Taste of Honey.” He starred as Martin Luther King Jr in “I Have a Dream,” a 1976 Broadway production. Additionally, Dee Williams has appeared in “August Wilson’s Fences.” He is a cast member of a web-based original series “Diary of a Single Mom,” which debuted on PIC.tv in the year 2009.
Billy Dee Williams TV Shows
Dee Williams has more than 60 credits beginning in the year 1966. His credits include recurring roles over the years in “General Hospital,” “General Hospital: Night Shift,” and “Gideon’s Crossing; Dynasty.” He has also made many cameo appearances such as “The Hughleys,” “227,” and “The Jeffersons.” Dee Williams has also voice acted in “Titan Maximum” (2009) and has starred in the reality television show “Dancing with the Stars” (2014). Dee Williams has also recurred as a guest on Gideon’s Crossing (the short-lived show).
Billy Dee Williams Colt 45 / Criticism
Dee Williams is also well-known for his advertisements for a malt liquor known as “Colt 45.” He advertised for Colt 45 for about half a decade. He brushed off criticism—for the subtext of the advert campaign, “works every time,” and the target audience—of choice. Dee Williams was hired by the malt liquor because he was cool! One year after the 1986 advert ran to 2,000,000 barrels in the top spot for malt liquor, Dee Williams went from trailing behind Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company in barrels produced, to “skyrocketing.”
Billy Dee Williams House
Dee Williams purchased a “Zen-like contemporary” house in the year 1984 in the Trousdale Estates neighborhood of Beverly Hills, California, for $553,000. He however sold it in the year 2012 for $2.79 million. However, it seems that the house was bought by Beverly Hills because it was renovated and it now reflects a significant stylistic overhaul. The home is now at a price of $12.995 million.
Billy Dee Williams Arrested
On January 30, 1996, Dee Williams was allegedly accused of having assaulted his live-in girlfriend and was therefore arrested. The police did not identify the “girlfriend.” Dee Williams posted bail of US$50,000. The Los Angeles police stated that the girl had minor scratches and bruises. He was charged with dissuading a witness and spousal battery. Subsequently, the girl came out and told the police to drop the case since the incident was her fault. Dee Williams consented to undergo 52 counseling sessions in a plea bargain. He once stated in a 2019 interview that he has never abused women.
Billy Dee Williams Controversy
Dee Williams spoke about his feminine side in an interview, in late 2019. He used feminine and masculine pronouns to refer to himself. Media outlets began saying that he might be gender fluid, but Dee Williams explained that he was referring to animus: the masculine side of women in Jungian psychology, and anima: the feminine side of men.