Billy Dee Williams

Ken Downey Jr. / For WBGO

Billy Dee Williams is no stranger to New York City, he was born and raised near Central Park North.  His birth name is William December Williams, explaining that Billy Dee was a showbiz name. 

“It’s my father’s name actually,” he said.  “He was born in December; I was born in April.  My father had a great sense of humor.  William December Williams.  That’s kind of interesting, I think.”

Williams, now 82-years old, got his start in acting at the age of six.  He auditioned for a part as a pageboy to the duchess in a Broadway production of The Firebrand of Florence.