Billy Dee Williams is best known for his role as Lando Carlrissian in “Star Wars: Episode V–The Empire Strikes Back,” and as Brian Walker in “Mahogany.” What you might not know is he also appeared in the hit CBS series “NCIS.” Here’s what Showbiz Cheat Sheet knows about his time on the show.
How Billy Dee Williams became famous
Williams’ acting career began in 1945 in a Broadway production titled “The Firebrand of Florence.” He then made his television acting debut in a 1952 episode of the daytime drama “Guiding Light.” After that, he appeared in the 1959 film “The Last Angry Man,” in which he played the role of Josh Quincy.
Williams rose to fame after his appearance in the 1971 television movie, “Brian’s Song,” for which he earned an Emmy nomination for Best Actor. Some of his most notable work includes appearances in “Star Wars: Episode V–The Empire Strikes Back,” “Lady Sings the Blues,” and “Mahogany.”
When was Billy Dee Williams on ‘NCIS’?
As of this writing, Williams has been on two episodes of “NCIS.” His first “NCIS” appearance was in 2012 in an episode titled “The Namesake.” After that, he appeared in a 2014 episode titled “Honor Thy Father.”
In an interview with CBS, Mark Harmon said snagging Williams for a role on the show wasn’t difficult. “NCIS” has become so respected that celebrities are happy to make an appearance. “This show, over the years, has had an uncanny ability to get the people they want to get from the very beginning. And Billy Dee was one of those. He was on a very short list in the beginning when they were writing that episode,” said Harmon.
‘NCIS’ producer Mark Horowitz said Billy Dee Williams was perfect for the part
The “NCIS” producers thought Williams was perfect for his role as Leroy Jethro Moore, Gibbs’ namesake. Producer Mark Horowitz told CBS that Williams was charming and graceful:
It was a terrific episode that Billy Dee came and played with us. We needed someone with a certain charisma, a certain presence. [His character] was a Medal of Honor winner and he was the namesake of our lead character. We had all this history built into this story, so you really needed somebody who needed to have a certain amount of gravitas. Billy brought a tremendous amount of charm and grace to that part. He had an ease about him. Just a lovely man to work with. He was the perfect person for that role.
Will Billy Dee Williams return to ‘NCIS’?
Nothing is impossible when it comes to “NCIS.” In his CBS interview, Harmon said another episode featuring Williams isn’t out of the question. “He was real fun to have here and maybe he’ll be back. You know, that’s the other part of this show. This is such an ensemble group, that people from year two, year five, year seven, whatever, sometimes return,” Harmon said.
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