Don’t call it a comeback. Billy Dee Williams never went away.
The man born William December Williams (who was born in … April), was already a star by the time he put on the cape of Cloud City proprietor Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. His roles in Mahogany and Lady Sings the Blues ensured that. He became known as the “black Clark Gable.”
Since two turns as Lando – one in Empire and the second in Return of the Jedi – Billy Dee has been in over 30 movies, working steadily on at least one film every year or two, including a racial cross-casting spot as a pre-acid Harvey Dent in Tim Burton’s Batman. And he has become a popular television guest star, as well, though he often portrays himself.
And who can forget the Colt 45 malt liquor commercial campaigns?
Eventually, Billy Dee became known as he face of all things smooth and cool.
And recently we learned that Billy Dee Williams is heading back into the role that made him a household name. He is coming back as Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: Episode VII.
As a ramp-up to the new film, the L.A. Times reports that Billy Dee has now been tapped to be a contestant on the upcoming 18th season of Dancing With the Stars. He will face off against such competitors as actor and game show host Drew Carey, former pro hockey player Sean Avery, real housewife Nene Leakes, paralympian Amy Purdy, and ice dancing partners-turned-competitors Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
This season of Dancing With the Stars brings a bold change. According to ABC, a new game changing twist called “The Switch Up” will be added.
This season, America will be given the power to vote and change celebrities and professional dance pairings. This new rule will affect all couples as they will be required to switch partners at a point in the season. Never before have dance partnerships been split up during the course of competition.
Also, long-time co-host Brooke Burke is gone, replaced by former DWTS contestant and sports reporter Erin Andrews.
Billy Dee Williams is now 76 years old. Time will tell how long he lasts in the competition, especially against ice dancers and legless Olympians. But regardless, people will come away knowing that Lando is back, even if Billy Dee never went away.