Actor Billy Dee Williams, right, made his film and television debuts in 1959 and continues to perform. But he's best known as Lando Calrissian, swashbuckling friend and rival of Han Solo in the Star Wars film franchise.
Williams, 75, spoke briefly to the Herald- Leader to promote his appearance at the Lexington Comic and Toy Convention this weekend.
Question: Lando Calrissian remains so popular 30 years after you played him that you're still asked to provide his voice for animation and video games and you're still invited to fan conventions. Why?
Answer: Well, you know, I've also been pretty popular in the movies for a lot of years for some of the other characters I've done. Certainly I think I was successful with Lando because, because first of all, I played the character. I think I created a very interesting kind of individual with all of the elements that people find appealing. He's a roguish kind of character. He's an attractive character. I am a pretty good actor, let's put it that way.
Q: Any regrets about being so closely associated with Lando?
A: Oh, no, no, no. I'm pretty happy about it. I get an opportunity to travel around the world and meet all of the great fans who have given me support over the years. I think that any time an actor can be successful with creating a character that people remember, it gives an actor a bit of longevity.
Q: Apparently, Lando's biography is fleshed out in a long series of Star Wars novels and comic books, from his wayward youth as a gambler to his comfortable retirement. Do you follow those stories?
A: No, I haven't read any of them.
Q: Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca, will be at this convention, too. You got the better deal on costumes, didn't you? You got the cool pirate shirt and cape, and he had to wear a furry Wookie outfit. How many people even recognize his face?
A: Well, he's pretty tall. (Mayhew is 7-foot-2.) I don't think there will be any problem with people recognizing him.
Q: There are rumors that you'll appear in the next Star Wars trilogy with Harrison Ford and your other old co-stars. True?
A: I have no idea. Nothing has been decided yet. They'll let me know.
IF YOU GO
Lexington Comic and Toy Convention
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. March 16, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. March 17
Where: Lexington Convention Center, 430 W. Vine St.
Tickets: $20 per day Saturday and Sunday, or both days for $30. Tickets available at the door only. Event is free for ages 10 and younger with paid adult.
Learn more: Lexingtoncomiccon.com
For the full guest list, go to Lexingtoncomiccon.com. Highlights include:
Jim Duggan, professional wrestler known as "Hacksaw"
Jason David Frank, actor who played Tommy Oliver on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and spin-offs
Mike Grell, writer/artist on comic books including Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters and Iron Man
Jamal Igle, artist on comic books including Supergirl, Firestorm and Nightwing
Margot Kidder, actress who played Lois Lane in Superman: The Motion Picture and sequels
Peter Mayhew, actor who played Chewbacca in Star Wars and sequels
Felix Silla, actor who played Cousin Itt on The Addams Family and Twiki the Robot on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
Roger Stern, writer on comic books including Superman, Captain America, The Avengers and Amazing Spider-Man
Billy Dee Williams, actor who played Lando Calrissian in the Stars Wars franchise
John Cheves: (859) 231-3266. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: Bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com.