Billy Dee Williams is an American actor, artist, and singer. He is the son of William December Williams, Sr. and Loretta Anne Williams
His mother Loretta Anne was an elevator operator at the Lyceum Theatre and aspiring performer from Montserrat, and his father William December Williams Sr. was an African-American caretaker, with some Native American ancestry from Texas.
Billy Dee Williams grew up on 110th Street in Harlem, between Lenox and 5th Avenues, near the Central Park North-110th Street subway stop. Loretta, his twin sister, was reared by their maternal grandmother while their parents worked multiple jobs.
His mother had studied opera for years, becoming an acclaimed opera star who wished to break into film; the family was well-educated, exposing the children to drawing, painting, theatre, and other creative experiences from an early age.
At the age of seven, he made his Broadway debut as a page in Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin’s operetta The Firebrand of Florence, starring Lotte Lenya. His mother, who worked at the theatre, volunteered him for the part he despised.
He gained fame and recognition for his acting career, particularly for his role as Lando Calrissian in the “Star Wars” franchise.