Billy Dee Williams (born William December Williams, Jr.; 6th April 1937) is an American actor, artist and writer, best known for his role as Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars films.
Williams was born in New York City, the son of Loretta, a West Indian-born elevator operator from Montserrat, and William December Williams, Sr. a Texas-born janitor. He has a twin sister, Loretta, and grew up in Harlem, where he was raised by his maternal grandmother while his parents worked at several jobs. Williams graduated from Manhattan's School of Performing Arts where he was a classmate of Diahann Carroll, who coincidentally played the wife of his character Brady Lloyd on the 1980s prime-time soap Dynasty.
He made his film debut in 1959 in The Last Angry Man starring Paul Muni, in which he portrayed a juvenile delinquent. His first big break was in the acclaimed television movie, Brian's Song in which he played Gale Sayers. In 1972 he played Billie Holliday's husband Louis McKay in Motown Productions' Holiday biopic Lady Sings the Blues. Diana Ross starred in Lady Sings the Blues opposite Williams; Motown paired the two of them again three years later in Mahogany.