Billy Dee Williams, Honorary Co-Chairman
Since 1990, Williams has generously contributed the artwork for the cover of the Institute’s competition souvenir program. Billy Dee Williams grew up in Harlem and attended the High School of Music and Art. He received the Hallgarten Award Scholarship to the National Academy of Fine Arts and Design, where he studied portrait painting. Shortly afterward, Williams attended actors workshops and studied with Paul Mann and Sidney Poitier. In 1971 he established himself as a major television star in the ABC Emmy Award-winning production of Brian’s Song. In the mid 1970s, Williams starred opposite Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues. He returned to the big screen in the 1980s as Lando Calrission in the blockbustersReturn of the Jedi and The Empire Strikes Back. More recently, he has appeared in the box-office hit Batman.