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Quotes by Billy Dee Williams

Quotes by Billy Dee Williams

Acting, I started when I was six and a half years-old, on Broadway with Kurt Weill.
Actually, I believe in everything, including astrology and tarot cards. All of it is just another way for people to try and tighten the link to the spirits in our universe. I believe it exists for all people.
As for Colt 45, I am very proud of my endorsement of the product, and it still ‘Works every time.’
Failure’s not a bad thing. It builds character. It makes you stronger.
For myself, if I’m trying to obtain a certain longevity in my career, to establish myself as a certain kind of star, I don’t want that black exploitation image.
I always admired my father because he was a man that never put on any airs, you know. And I always tried to be that kind of person.
I am an artist no matter what I do. I live for creativity. I think everyone should. It is the antithesis of being destructive.
I did something that no brown-skinned man in the movie industry ever did. I made a brown-skinned man look very romantic – a matinee idol. If you think about it, what I introduced is historical because it had never happened before, and it hasn’t happened since – not on that level.
I don’t know why everybody thinks I’m smooth. I think I’m just a pretty silly person, really.
I don’t know. You know, when I’m not acting, I’m not an actor. I’m just a person. That’s how I go through life. I’d rather not – you know, like a lot of actors, you know, they spend their whole 24 hours a day being an actor.
I don’t want to find myself ever locked into what people think I should think or do. In my art, and acting, I have a universal vision of things, an international vision. Bigger and broader and beyond. ‘Bigger than life’ is always on my mind.
I don’t want to sound too carried away, but from what I’ve seen, ‘Bingo Long’ is going to be a big one. A classic.
I go, and I do my work, and I try to do the best I can, and I collect my money, and I go home, and then I go on to the next thing. That’s my attitude.
I love the Mexican muralists – like Rivera, Orozco – and the music of Walter Benton. They gave you a sense that reality was much more than life.
I loved Marlon Brando: my favorite actor.
I take very good care of myself, and I’ve still got a lot of things I need and want to do – and I am still cute. Retiring seems like such a remote thing to me. The whole idea of it.
I tell my son Corey that the greatest teacher is the teacher who says, ‘Don’t follow me; follow yourself. Because within you there is that kingdom, that life, that force.’
I tend to approach characters not based on ethnicity but on some unique individual qualities, and I’ve set my whole life that way. I don’t want any sort of limitations imposed on my work. If you truly want to be a creative person, you can’t limit yourself.
I think I’m a good father. As a parent, you have the responsibility to create a foundation for your children so that they can meet all the challenges.
I think I’ve been very fortunate, considering the obstacles that I had to deal with, you know, just being – by virtue of being a brown, lovely, brown-skinned man. But on the other hand, I’ve been able to make a good living, and I’ve been able to take care of my family, which is most important to me.
I think a lot of black filmmakers have done very well.
I think of film when I paint. Even the luminosity that I always keep working for is really about film. But my idea is not to paint paintings that will decorate somebody’s house.
I want people to see my heart, what I feel – not as one of America’s best black actors but as one of the best actors.
I was in the National Academy of Fine Arts and Design, on a scholarship. I was – still am – an artist. They were looking for an actor for ‘Take a Giant Step,’ and a producer liked my look and asked if I could act. I said, ‘Yep!’ Then I got into acting more or less just to make money for paints and canvases.
I’m always looking for good things to do.
If anything, I’ve seen myself as the full spectrum of colors, and to be faced with not being able to do something just because I’m of a particular race has been something that I’ve always found very difficult – even today.
It was a time after ‘Lady Sings the Blues’ and ‘Mahogany’ and all those romantic movies: I became this romantic figure on the street in a very special way.
It’s in our nature. We need to explore and find out what’s going on outside of who we are.
Jazz is very much a part of my life. I work with the Thelonious Monk Institute and do the artwork for their program every year.
My idea is to paint paintings so that when you walk into a room, I’m pulling you in, or that makes you suddenly stop and wonder: ‘What is this? There is something groovy, something else going on here.’ Also, I want to give you what is obvious and what is not obvious to the eye.
My mother’s side of the family, they’re from Montserrat in the Leeward Islands.
No matter where I go, in this country or outside of this country, there are young people, and I’m always surprised that young people know about me and Colt 45.
Oh, I paint all the time.
Originally I planned on starting a teapot collection. I really like them.
Power is a very peculiar thing. It’s like the ego. The ego’s only there to keep you above water. Once we realize something good about ourselves, we have a tendency to abuse the gift.
Right before ‘Brian’s Song’ there was a period when I was very despondent, broke, depressed; my first marriage was on the rocks. The role of Gale Sayers had been cast with Lou Gossett, and then he hurt himself playing basketball. I was called in to read for the role. I was their last choice, and I knew it.
Sometimes a true original doesn’t need to change a thing.
The only thing that said ‘Lando Calrissian’ was ethnic was his looks.
The world moves fast, but change isn’t always a good thing when you got it right the first time around.
There’s always been a lot of misunderstanding about Lando’s character. I used to pick up my daughter from elementary school and get into arguments with little children who would accuse me of betraying Han Solo.
You are always going to have people criticizing, in one way or another, for their own personal reason.

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