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The Entertainers We Love
Billy Dee Williams

Paying Tribute to Billy Dee Williams

This biography is from AllMovieGuide.com

One of the most handsome leading men in Hollywood with his soulful brown eyes, neat, thick moustache, great physique and natural poise, Billy Dee Williams was a major star during the 1970s, but his acting career dates back to 1947 when he debuted on the Broadway stage opposite German actress Lotte Lenya in the play The Firebrand of Florence. It was William's mother, an elevator operator at the Lyceum Theater where the play was produced, who brought him before the producers after she heard that they needed a child. As a teen, Williams studied drama at the prestigious High School of Music and Art in New York; he also studied at the National Academy of Fine Arts and then at the Harlem Actors Workshop where he was tutored by Sidney Poitier. As an adult, he returned to Broadway, but did not make his feature film debut until he landed a substantial supporting role in The Last Angry Man (1959). It would be a decade before Williams starred in another film. He made a favorable impression playing Gayle Sayers in the touching made-for-TV movie Brian's Song, but did not become a movie star until he appeared opposite Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues (1972). In 1975, the pair reteamed for the highly successful melodrama Mahogany (1975). At his popularity's peak, Williams was referred to as "the black Gable." Though he went on to star in other pictures throughout the decade, Williams' star was beginning to fade by 1980 until he played a dashing role in George Lucas Star Wars sequel The Empire Strikes Back and its sequel Return of the Jedi (1983). He was also particularly memorable as the district attorney in Tim Burton's Batman (1989). Through the 1990s, Williams career has slowed and but for a few television movies in 1993, his appearances have become sporadic. Sandra Brennan


This filmography is from Allmovieguide.com

2000 The Visit Actor
2000 The Ladies Man Actor
1999 The Contract Actor
1998 Steel Sharks Actor
1998 Hard Time [TV] Actor
1998 Woo Actor
1996 The Prince Actor
1996 Moving Target Actor
1995 Black Rose of Harlem
aka Machine Gun Blues [1996] (TV title)
aka Pistol Blues Actor
1995 Falling for You [TV] Actor
1995 Triplecross [TV] Actor
1995 Mask of Death Actor
1993 Marked for Murder [TV] Actor
1993 Danielle Steel's 'Message From Nam' Actor
1993 Percy and Thunder [TV] Actor
1993 Alien Intruder Actor
1992 Giant Steps Actor
1992 The Jacksons: An American Dream [TV] Actor
1991 Driving Me Crazy
aka Trabbi Goes to Hollywood Actor
1990 Dangerous Passion [TV] Actor
1989 Batman Actor
1988 The Return of Desperado [TV] Actor
1987 Deadly Illusion
aka Love You to Death Actor
1987 Number One with a Bullet Actor
1986 The Right of the People [TV] Actor
1986 Oceans of Fire [TV] Actor
1986 Courage [TV] Actor
1984 Christmas Lilies of the Field [TV] Actor
1984 Time Bomb [TV] Actor
1984 Fear City
aka Ripper Actor
1984 The Imposter [TV]
aka Strange Confession Actor
1983 From "Star Wars" to "Jedi": The Making of a Saga [doc] Actor
1983 Marvin and Tige Actor
1983 Classic Creatures: Return of the Jedi [doc] Actor
1983 Chiefs [TV] Actor
1983 Return of the Jedi
aka Star Wars: Episode VI - The Return of the Jedi Actor
1983 Shooting Stars [TV] Actor
1981 Nighthawks Actor
1980 The Final Countdown Actor
1980 The Empire Strikes Back
aka Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back Actor
1980 Children of Divorce [TV] Actor
1980 The Hostage Tower [TV] Actor
1977 Scott Joplin [TV] Actor
1976 The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings Actor
1975 Mahogany Actor
1974 The Take Actor
1973 Hit!
aka Hit Actor
1972 The Glass House [TV]
aka Truman Capote's The Glass House Actor
1972 The Final Comedown
aka Blast Actor
1972 Lady Sings the Blues Actor
1970 Brian's Song [TV] Actor
1970 The Out-Of-Towners Actor
1969 Lost Flight Actor
1969 Black Brigade [TV]
aka Carter's Army Actor
1959 The Last Angry Man Actor

Billy Dee Williams Photo Gallery