Billy Dee Williams is known for roles in “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back,” “Mahogany,” and “Lady Sings the Blues” and is currently on ABC’s hit reality show, “Dancing with the Stars.”
Williams sat down with CableTV and discussed what it’s like to reflect on his career and whether or not he will continue on the reality dancing competition.
Q: You are a legend. You have been in some amazing movies from “Star Wars” to most recently, “The Lego Movie.” How did you originally get started in acting?
Williams: I started when I was 6-and-a-half-years-old on Broadway doing a musical. That was a hundred thousand years ago. That was my first experience and years after that I decided to go back into it. I hit my teens and went back into show business.
My career kind of took off after that. I did a bunch of movies and did “Brian’s Song” which got me nominated for an Emmy. At that point I did “Lady Sings The Blues,” and then I did a fragrance for about nine years. I did a lot.
Q: Is it crazy to look back at your career and know that you were in some of the most pivotal movies of all time?
Williams: Well I feel very fortunate that some of the movies I have done have become some part of posterity. I feel very fortunate.
Q: I know you have constantly been working throughout the years. What makes you continue to work and be on all of these shows at age 77?
Williams: I don’t know [laughs]. There is always something to do I guess. If I have the opportunity to do it, I do it. I really like staying busy.
Q: Now, how did “Dancing with the Stars” happen? Why do that at this point in your life?
Williams: I am 77, I got back pain, I have two hip replacements and I have no idea why I decided to do this. It has nothing to do with competing with anybody or the other competitors. It’s just basically me seeing if I could handle it. I wanted to see if I still had something left. I am challenging myself and listen I am ready to give up and I got another week to go and I have to do the tango now and I am in the middle of rehearsing that.
Q: Why are you ready to give up?
Williams: Maybe I am a masochist. Listen I do this four hours per day. I really was just talked into it. I just don’t see myself lasting that long.
Q: Well what has your experience been like so far? Were you disappointed with your scores?
Williams: I am not really in proving them wrong. They were right. They are judging from a perspective of dancing. They understand. I am not worried about it.
Q: You have a lot of fans you could win this thing. Are you prepared to go all the way? Is that something you have even thought about?
Williams: I have to see what my body tells me. Right now my body is telling me enough is enough. My back is killing me. I am not worried, but I can only do what I can do. I will see how well I do it.
Q: Are you surprised that you have so many fans that are supporting you?
Williams: It’s very nice. I am so thankful to have them and for them to be supporting me. I don’t think you can have a career without having a following. I am so happy that I have people that are behind me and have watched me all of these years. I am extremely thankful.
Q: Well, you mentioned you were doing the Tango, so what can fans expect tuning in to see you?
Williams: Hopefully they will see a pretty good performance. I don’t know at this stage, but I am working diligently that I present myself in a way that is not embarrassing.
Q: Well it’s hard when you are not a professional dancer and with all of your injuries I think you did fantastic. I hope you are able stick it out. Like I said before you never know you could win.
Williams: Ha I don’t think I am going to win anything. We will see what happens and how long I can stay in it. Like I said I wanted to make sure I was able to do it. This is for me, it’s not for a competition. But, we will see how things go.
Watch Billy Dee Williams perform on “Dancing with the Stars,” Mondays at 8 p.m. EST.
Photo: ABC/Adam Taylor
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