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Today’s Birthday April 6: US actor Billy Dee Williams (1937-).
One of America’s most successful black actors, Williams has worked in television, film and theatre in a host of well-known roles.
Williams was born William December Williams Jr on April 6, 1937 in Harlem, New York.
He attended the New York City High School of the Performing Arts, followed by the National Academy of Fine Arts and the Harlem Actors Workshop.
Williams was coached at the Harlem Actors Workshop by Sidney Poitier.
Williams made his debut on Broadway in The Firebrand Of Florence after his mother, who worked at the Lyceum Theatre, introduced him to the producers.
In 1959 he won his first film role, in The Last Angry Man.
He cemented his place in Hollywood with his role in the 1972 film Lady Sings The Blues, starring Diana Ross. He starred with Ross again in Mahogany (1975).
Williams also acted in the Star Wars’ sequels The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi.
He made Batman in 1989, playing the district attorney. Mor recently he has featured as a voice actor in The Lego Movie (2014).
Williams is well known for his roles that have transcended traditional stereotypes of African-Americans.
The 77-year-old continues to act.
From 2009 to 2011 he played Uncle Bo in the TV series Diary Of A Single Mom.
Williams is rumoured to have scored his old role as Lando Clarissian in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII, which is set for release in 2015..