Billy Dee Williams Says He Enjoyed Kissing Diana Ross in ‘Lady Sings the Blues'

Billy Dee Williams Says He Enjoyed Kissing Diana Ross in ‘Lady Sings the Blues'

WBLS Staff
02/10/2024 06:53 PM EST

Billy Dee Williams is kissing and telling on his tales with Diana Ross.

Williams, 86,  and Ross, 79, were one of Black Hollywood’s most iconic on-screen couples. The two played lovers in the ’70s classic films Mahogany and Lady Sings the Blues. The chemistry they both had was so electric that many thought that they might have been romantic in real life.

Even Ross' then-boyfriend Berry Gordy and producer of Lady Sings the Blues, became jealous of the kiss according to Williams. When asked how he and Gordy navigated the situation Williams tells PEOPLE, “Well, Berry is…I love Berry.”

The founder of Motown Records — who signed Ross’s legendary girl group, The Supremes — would often intervene to prevent the stars from kissing during rehearsals, Williams recalls in his book.

“He's very whimsical,” Williams told PEOPLE, of Gordy. “And he might object to something, but he does it in such a fashion you find himself chuckling about it because he's chuckling about it.”

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To demonstrate, the Star Wars actor recalled a moment on set when he chimed in while Gordy and a cinematographer discussed a scene. The producer turned to him, leaned in and said, “This is my movie. No worries. It's nice that you have an opinion. It's okay. I got this.”

“Even when he hired me for Louis McKay, I mean, he saw the chemistry between myself and Diana when I was doing a screen test,” Williams recalled. “And he got so excited.”

“He's just like a little kid,” he added.

Recalling Gordy’s reaction to his and Ross’s screen test — which immediately landed him the 1972 role — Williams said, “It was very clear to him what was going on between me and Diana.”

"And he's really good at that kind of stuff, judging by all of the people he has discovered,” the actor added.

And while his and Ross’s chemistry — which they reprised in 1975’s Mahogany — was electric, Williams said that he and the “I'm Coming Out” singer’s relationship never translated into real life.

“We never had anything,” he told the magazine. “We never had any, although I love kissing on-screen. It was really nice.”

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