Not only can he destroy the Death Star, but Billy Dee Williams designs his own clothes and creates paintings that sell for thousands of dollars. And the Star Wars actor — who starred as Lando Calrissian in Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and Rise of Skywalker — considers all that a “fairly normal kind of existence.”
“I get up in the morning. I do my exercise on my bike. I hang out with my grandkids,” Williams, 82, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “I meet my friends in the restaurant during the afternoons and have nice lunches and things of that nature besides my painting, my drawing.”
Williams’ creativity started at a young age. He studied visual arts at New York City’s prestigious LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (Jennifer Aniston, Nicki Minaj and Sarah Paulson are among the many famous alums) and graduated with a scholarship to the National Academy of Fine Arts and Design. In fact, Williams started acting in part to earn money to put towards painting supplies.
“When I needed money for paint and canvases, I would do some TV work,” he told PEOPLE in 1980.
RELATED VIDEO: How Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and the Cast of Star Wars Said Farewell to a Galaxy Far Far Away
While the Emmy nominee for Brian’s Song sells his artwork, his clothing designs remain in his closet only. “I’ve done it for myself but I should’ve gone into business,” Williams says. “Who knows? I might at some point, a new adventure.”
- For more on Billy Dee Williams, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on stands now
Williams embarked on another new adventure when he started writing a memoir. “I’ve had a fairly interesting life, so I just talk about all the interesting things — that I think are interesting anyway,” he says.
Throughout all of his various endeavors over the decades, “I’ve had a pretty good time,” Williams says. “I feel very fortunate that I’ve lasted this long. I count my blessings.”
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters now.