Actor Billy Dee Williams (1937– ), born William December Williams in New York City, has graced audiences with his performances on screen, television, and stage. He is best remembered for his role as Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars episodes of The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983) and is also known for his roles opposite Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues (1972) and Mahogany (1975). His acting career began in childhood on Broadway, and during school he studied both theater arts and visual arts, laying the groundwork for his success as an actor and as a visual artist and painter. For his role ss Gale Sayers in the 1971 television film Brian's Song, Billy Dee won an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. The actor returns to his role as Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: Episode IX (release date December 20, 2019).