Billy Dee Williams celebrates 40th anniversary of 'Star Wars' classic sequel 'Return of the Jedi'

ByGeorge Pennacchio OTRC logo
Friday, April 28, 2023
Celebrating 40 years of 'Return of the Jedi' with Billy Dee Williams
'I blew up the Death Star!' Actor Billy Dee Williams reflects on the 40th anniversary of the 'Star Wars' classic 'Return of the Jedi' and his character Lando Calrissian as the film heads back into theaters for a one-week run.

HOLLYWOOD -- To celebrate its 40th anniversary, the 1983 "Star Wars" classic "Return of the Jedi" is coming back to theaters for one week only. That means the return of another classic: actor Billy Dee Williams.

"I blew up the Death Star, which was a big deal!" laughed Williams.

Williams said he wanted to make his character, Lando Calrissian, a little larger than life. The one-time smuggler and schemer would go on to become a leader in the fight against the Empire.

"I became a general. How I became a general? I still don't know to this day. I don't know how I went from Lando Calrissian, who was, like, running Vegas, to a general!" said Williams.

Williams said this role was handed to him but it came after he had proven himself. There was the TV movie "Brian's Song" in 1971 in which he starred opposite Diana Ross. Then, the next year in "Lady Sings the Blues" and again a few years later in "Mahogany."

"I was lovely and charming and all that kind of stuff and I had a kind of a reputation and a kind of presence," said Williams. "That's what they wanted and that's what they got."

Williams has an autobiography on the way he is currently calling, "Well, What Have We Here...Portraits of My Life." It's a line he borrowed from "Star Wars." He said it's a fun and interesting book.

"I led a relatively fascinating life," said Williams.

"Star Wars: Return of the Jedi" is in theaters Friday through "Star Wars" Day, also known as May the Fourth.

Disney is the parent company of this ABC station.