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Billy Dee Williams leads a celebrity invasion for Tampa's Fanboy Expo

Billy Dee Williams

Billy Dee Williams

A short time from now in a hotel very, very near you, actor Billy Dee Williams will be meeting fans and signing autographs at the FanBoy Expo.

The Saturday and Sunday convention at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay in Tampa will also feature Q&As with the actor who made Lando Calrissian a household name. Tbt* caught up with Williams before he arrives to find out what he's up to now and how he hopes to see Lando portrayed in the future.

How do you feel about traveling the country to attend conventions like the Fanboy Expo?

The really nice thing about it is it gives me the opportunity give me a lot of people who have supported me throughout my career. It's a very nice experience.

How do you feel about people's affinity and animosity toward Lando?

I always try to keep Lando alive forever by doing all these shows and conventions. I also do the parodies and animation that keeps him alive. I always want to use my voice rather than having someone else impersonating me.

If you could write a role for Lando in the new Star Wars franchise, what would you want him to be?

My idea is to have Lando not surrounded by a lot of women, that's always the first thing people think about when they think about him. I think now maybe he's got a daughter who is a Jedi. That would be cool.

Lando is seen as the consummate ladies' man — just like Billy Dee Williams. Are you doing anything to change the perception?

I think I'm going to have to live with that one forever. (Laughs)

What are you looking forward to most out of the convention?

We usually do the Q&As and I always to look forward to that. I get a lot of good questions but every now and again you get someone who comes up to the mic to ask why I betrayed Han Solo. So I spend most of my time trying to explain that whole situation. Especially when it's a little kid who's 10 admonishing you or chastising you about that. I'd tell the kid, "Get out of here." (laughs) Actually I've been doing it a long time, since my daughter was little, I'd drop her off at school and have to explain to little children why I didn't betray Han Solo. It gets pretty funny.

What's a day in the life of Billy Dee Williams like?

Right now, I'm going to prepare myself for my granddaughter to come over. We do a lot painting and reading. My grandkids are real important to me really big in my life. I have two grandchildren, a boy and a girl. I do my workouts and then with my grandchildren, painting games and watching a lot of cartoons on television. And having discussions about what's being presented. I like to discuss with them how they reacted and how they feel about it.

What sort of cartoons are you watching?

I've been watching a lot of Pokemon, which is really good. It really just talks about good and evil and when people join together to conquer evil, that's a good thing. We'll sit and watch it. I watch it a lot with my grandson. I always want to see where he is coming from and how he sees it and have a discussion.

Fanboy Expo

Stars like Billy Dee Williams, Chandler Riggs (The Walking Dead), Doug Jones (Hellboy), Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson, Lorenzo Lamas and more will be at the Fanboy Expo on Saturday and Sunday. There are also comics and toy dealers, plus a beach party with American Pie's Thomas Ian Nicholas on Saturday night. The expo runs 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, 2900 Bayport Drive, Tampa. It's $20 a day, $35 for the weekend, 10 and younger free, but autographs cost extra, ranging from $10 up to $40. Get tickets and details at

Billy Dee Williams leads a celebrity invasion for Tampa's Fanboy Expo 08/01/13 [Last modified: Thursday, August 1, 2013 4:47pm]
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