Billy Dee Williams: “The Most Important Thing In Life Is…”

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Billy December Williams (yes, his middle name is December) was and has always been the ultimate “cool guy.” From his walk to the way he speaks, the New York-born actor has a smooth nature. He was raised by his maternal grandmother while his parents worked several jobs. As soon as being seen on camera, Williams was known as a handsome actor and even dubbed as a “sex symbol” by many, but that’s something that he’s humbled by and tries to stay away from.

“All of that isn’t important to me, and never really was,” he explains. “But if people enjoy seeing me that way, well, I suppose my job is to offer enjoyment. I’d like to also think of myself as a man who’s also concerned with the important things in life. Like those of a man, a husband, and a father. Family is what’s important to me. Beyond that, I try to always discipline myself so that I can be even better.”

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Even before he began acting, Williams attended the National Academy of Fine Arts and Design in New York. In the late 1980’s, he resumed painting. He has had solo exhibitions in various galleries around the United States and his work hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian Institution and the Schomburg Museum. The covers of the Thelonious Monk Competition programs since 1990 are by Williams.