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Holding Details

TitleWhat have we here? : portraits of a life / Billy Dee Williams. First edition. Ed
AuthorWilliams, Billy Dee, 1937- author.
CollectionAdult Biography
Reserve Item


LocationCirc StatusCall NoIssue Name
WinamacAvailableB WILLIAMS 

Catalog Details

International Standard Book Number 9780593318607
International Standard Book Number 0593318609
Dewey Decimal Classification Number 791.4302/8092 B 23/eng/20230830
Personal Name Williams, Billy Dee, 1937- author.
Title Statement What have we here? : portraits of a life / Billy Dee Williams.
Edition Statement First edition.
Production, Publication, Distribution, Manufacture, and Copyright Notice New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2024.
Physical Description 277 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm.
Content Type text txt rdacontent.
Media Type unmediated n rdamedia.
Carrier Type volume nc rdacarrier.
General Note Includes index.
Summary, Etc. "Film legend recalls his remarkable life of nearly eight decades-a heralded actor who's played the roles he wanted, unchecked by the racism and typecasting so rife in the mostly all-white industry in which he triumphed. Billy Dee Williams was born in Harlem in 1937 and grew up in a household of love and sophistication. As a young boy, he made his stage debut working with Lotte Lenya in an Ira Gershwin/Kurt Weill production where Williams ended up feeding Lenya her lines. He studied painting, first at the High School of Music and Art, with fellow student Diahann Carroll, and then at the National Academy of Fine Art, before setting out to pursue acting with Herbert Berghoff, Stella Adler, and Sidney Poitier. His first film role was in The Last Angry Man, the great Paul Muni's final film. 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." On Broadway, he acted in The Cool World in an all-Black cast that included James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson, and in the original hit Broadway production of A Taste of Honey with Angela Lansbury and a young Joan Plowright. In 1971, he landed the role of a lifetime: co-starring alongside James Caan in Brian's Song, the made-for-television movie that was watched by an audience of more than fifty million people. Williams says it was "the kind of interracial love story America needed." His rich and varied career included working with producer Berry Gordy on the Billie Holiday biopic, Lady Sings the Blues, a star vehicle for Diana Ross, then at the height of her superstardom. He also starred in the 1977 film Scott Joplin and appeared in Tim Burton's Batman and more recently the television series, And Just Like That. He became a true pop culture icon when, as the first Black character in the Star Wars universe, he played Lando Calrissian in George Lucas's The Empire Strikes Back ("What I presented on the screen people didn't expect to see"). It was a role he reprised in the final film of the original trilogy, The Return of the Jedi, and in the recent sequel The Rise of Skywalker. A legendary actor, in his own words, on all that has sustained and carried him through a lifetime of dreams and adventure"-- Provided by publisher.
Subject-Personal Name Williams, Billy Dee, 1937-
Subject Added Entry - Topical Term African American actors Biography.
Index Term-Genre/Form Autobiographies. lcgft.
Additional Physical Form Entry Online version: Williams, Billy Dee, 1937- What have we here? First edition. New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2024 9780593318614 (DLC) 2023031858.
Location B WILLIAMS 31662001752286

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