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The Life of a Legend

Film luminary Billy Dee Williams recalls his remarkable life—a heralded actor who's played the roles he wanted, from Brian’s Song to Lando in the Star Wars universe—unchecked by the racism and typecasting so rife in the mostly all-white industry in which he triumphed.

Starting with his birth in Harlem in 1937, What Have We Here details Billy's experiences through his young adulthood, to his first film role in Paul Muni's The Last Angry Man. It was Muni who gave Billy the advice that sent him soaring as an actor, “You can play any character you want to play no matter who you are, no matter the way you look or the color of your skin.” And Williams writes, “I wanted to be anyone I wanted to be."

He writes of landing the role of a lifetime in Brian's Song and describes his experinces as the first Black character in the Star Wars universe, where he became a true pop culture icon, playing Lando Calrissian in George Lucas’s The Empire Strikes Back.

A legendary actor, in his own words, on all that has sustained and carried him through a lifetime of dreams and adventure.


Join Billy Dee Williams for a conversation about his new memoir What Have We Here?, which recounts his journey from Harlem to a galaxy far, far away — and beyond. Tickets available now.

Feb 13 2024 (Tue)
New York City: Barnes & Noble Union Square
Talk and Signing
6:00 PM EST
Feb 14 2024 (Wed)
New York City: Schomburg Center
Talk and Signing
6:30 PM EST
Feb 15 2024 (Thu)
Washington, DC: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
Talk and Signing
7:00 PM EST
Feb 16 2024 (Fri)
Baltimore, MD: Enoch Pratt Library
Talk and Signing
7:00 PM EST
Feb 17 2024 (Sat)
Philadelphia, PA: Free Library of Philadelphia
Talk and Signing
7:30 PM EST
Feb 20 2024 (Tue)
St Louis, MO: Skip Viragh Center for the Arts at Chaminade
Talk and Signing
7:00 PM CST
Feb 22 2024 (Thu)
Chicago, IL: WBEZ Presents
Talk and Signing
7:00 PM CST
Feb 26 2024 (Mon)
Los Angeles, CA: Live Talks LA
An Evening With Billy Dee Williams
Talk and Signing
8:00 PM PST
Mar 1 2024 (Fri)
Seattle, WA: Emerald City Comic Con
Talk and Signing
12:30 PM PST
Mar 7 2024 (Thu)
Palm Springs, CA: Friends of the Palm Springs Library
Talk and Signing
7:00 PM PST
Billy Dee Williams wearing a black scarf and red coat

Photo: © Albert L. Ortega

Billy Dee Williams

Was born and raised in New York City. He has starred in forty movies, seven Broadway plays, and has made more than forty television shows and TV movies combined. He lives in Los Angeles.

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