Show Business: The Black Gable

His mustache is slightly thicker than Clark Gable's, his smile is even more dazzling, and he sees the possibilities. "Clark Gable is the apex," says Actor Billy Dee Williams. "A star is what everyone wants to be, even Presidents."

At 39, Williams looks more and more like Hollywood's first black matinee idol. Each week he receives nearly 8,000 letters, mostly from women—white and black—who love his almost boyish good looks and sloping fullback's shoulders. In Savannah, Ga., last summer the tactical police were called upon to cool the ardor of female fans who threw themselves and their phone numbers at Williams during...

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