Billy Dee Williams on blackface: ‘If you’re an actor, you should do anything you want to do’

The legendary Black actor shared his opinions about blackface on an episode of Bill Maher's "Club Random" podcast.

Legendary actor Billy Dee Williams attends the European premiere of "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" at Cineworld Leicester Square in December 2019 in London, England. (Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney)

Film legend Billy Dee Williams recently shared his thoughts on blackface, saying that he believes actors should be able to do it.

On a recent episode of Bill Maher’s “Club Random” podcast, the “Star Wars” actor recalled watching the late Laurence Olivier, who starred in — wearing blackface — and directed 1965’s “Othello.” As Entertainment Weekly reported, Williams praised Olivier’s performance in the film while talking to Maher, saying, “When he did ‘Othello,’ I fell out laughing. He stuck his ass out and walked around because Black people are supposed to have big asses.”

 “I thought it was hysterical,” he added. “I loved it. I love that kind of stuff.” After Maher responded that today, “they would never let you do that,” Williams asked Maher, “Why?”

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“Why not? You should do it,” Williams continued. “If you’re an actor, you should do anything you want to do.”

“The point is, you don’t go through life feeling like, ‘I’m a victim,'” he added. “I refuse to go through life saying to the world, ‘I’m pissed off.’ I’m not gonna be pissed off 24 hours a day.”

As theGrio previously reported, in February, Williams released his memoir, “What Have We Here? Portraits of a Life,” which gets candid about his decades-long acting career and life in the public eye. Promoting the book earlier this year, he talked to People about why he is feeling ready to open up now about his perspectives.

“I’m thinking about legacy at this stage, 86 years old going on 87,” he told the outlet. “So I figured maybe I need to talk about a few things that might interest a few people.”