What Have We Here?: Portraits of a Life

Billy Dee Williams

A Candid Look Back: A Review of “What Have We Here?” by Billy Dee Williams

In his memoir, “What Have We Here?”, legendary actor Billy Dee Williams takes readers on a journey through his remarkable career, spanning nearly eight decades. From his early days on Broadway to his iconic roles in “Brian’s Song” and “Star Wars,” Williams recounts his experiences with both candor and charm.


  • Personal and Engaging Voice: The book reads like a conversation with Williams himself. His warm, humorous, and sometimes self-deprecating voice shines through, making the story engaging and relatable.
  • Behind-the-Scenes Glimpses: Williams offers fascinating insights into his experiences working on classic films like “Lady Sings the Blues” and “Star Wars.” His anecdotes reveal the challenges and rewards of navigating Hollywood and the impact these iconic roles had on his life and career.
  • Honest Reflection: Williams doesn’t shy away from addressing difficult topics, such as his experiences with racism in the entertainment industry and his personal struggles. This honesty adds depth and complexity to his story, allowing readers to see him beyond the silver screen persona.


  • Selective Focus: While Williams touches on many aspects of his life, some readers might find the narrative skips over certain periods or events with less detail. The book focuses primarily on his career highlights.
  • Limited Introspection: While Williams shares honest reflections, the book might not offer a profound level of self-analysis for readers seeking deeper insights into his personal growth and emotional journey.

Overall: “What Have We Here?” is a delightful and informative read for fans of Billy Dee Williams and anyone interested in the world of Hollywood. Williams’ charismatic personality and engaging storytelling make the book a journey through his life and career that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.

Recommendation: Highly recommended for fans of Billy Dee Williams, movie enthusiasts interested in behind-the-scenes stories, and readers who enjoy a lighthearted and personal memoir.