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NY Post
Page Six
24 Feb 2024

NextImg:‘Star Wars’ actor Billy Dee Williams embraces gay rumors: I’ve been called a ‘closet queen’

Billy Dee Williams — who rose to fame as Lando Calrissian in the original “Star Wars” trilogy — never cared that people thought he was gay in the 70s.

While speaking to Page Six about the rumors that could have jeopardized his career at the time, he said, “I’ve been called a ‘Closet Queen.’

“But, I don’t pay much attention to any of that.”

Earlier this month, the actor released his rollicking memoir “What Have We Here?” which covers not only his 70-decade career but also stories of the many famous people he met along the way, such as Marlon Brando, James Baldwin, Laurence Olivier and Angela Lansbury.

Billy Dee Williams never paid any mind that people thought he was gay. Michael Ochs Archives
Williams became a sex symbol in movies like “Lady Sings the Blues.” Courtesy Everett Collection

The Harlem native — who is turning 87 in April — writes that he was always comfortable hanging out with members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and even attended secret gay parties in the Metropolitan Opera’s basement when he was an extra.

“It all seemed very normal to me,” he shares. “I was around it all of my life, so I never really gave it much thought.”

“I’ve been called a ‘Closet Queen,'” Williams told us in an exclusive interview. Getty Images

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In his book, the “Brian’s Song” actor recalls a recent conversation with his daughter (he’s been married 3 times) in which he discussed Carl Jung’s theory of anima and animus.

The famed psychoanalyst believed that animus is an unconscious masculine side to women, while anima is the unconscious feminine side to men.

“I told my daughter about it,” he recalls.

He became a global star playing Lando Calrissian in the “Star Wars” franchise.

“I was talking about why men should get more in touch with the female side of themselves and then my daughter told me — the first time I ever heard the phrase — gender fluid.

“My daughter was very happy to think that I was gender fluid!”

The “DWTS” alum notes that he finds the current wars over gender “really amusing, to say the least.”

The actor recently released his memoir, “What Have We Here?”

Williams became a matinee idol in movies like “Lady Sings the Blues” and “Mahogany” and a global star for his turn in the “Star Wars” franchise, which he dubbed as “a real interesting journey.”

“Especially, when you do the conventions and you’re doing Q & A’s, and you get some little 10-year-old kid who wants to kill you because you’ve betrayed Han Solo! So it becomes really, a kind of interesting adventure,” he writes.

Williams added that he’s found himself in situations where he’s been obliged to explain the “whole question of the betrayal but it’s a lot of fun and I enjoy it.”