- NAME: LeVar Burton
- OCCUPATION: Actor, Director, Television Personality, Television Producer
- BIRTH DATE: February 16, 1957 (Age: 57)
- Did You Know?: LeVar Burton has won 12 Emmy Awards, a Grammy Award and five NAACP Awards.
- Did You Know?: LeVar Burton was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1990.
- Did You Know?: By 2013, 10 million books and video field trips had been utilized through the Reading Rainbow app, an initiative spearheaded by LeVar Burton.
- EDUCATION: University of Southern California
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Landstuhl, Germany
- Full Name: Levardis Robert Martyn Burton Jr.
- AKA: Levardis Burton
- AKA: LeVar Burton
- ZODIAC SIGN: Aquarius
Best Known For
LeVar Burton is an actor known chiefly for starring in Roots, hosting Reading Rainbow and appearing on the iconic sci-fi series Star Trek: The Next Generation.
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LeVar Burton was born in West Germany on February 16, 1957. Two years into college, Burton was chosen for the lead role in the television miniseries Roots, which launched his career. In 1983, he became the host of PBS's Reading Rainbow,
"As long as we are engaged in storytelling that moves the culture forward, it doesn't matter what format it is." "I genuinely believe we have an opportunity to revolutionize how we educate our children." "I think that we have to continue to expand the areas in which we want our kids to be literate. And social media's going to be a part of their lives. And why not? Why not give them a sense of what the rules of the road are?" "I fly my geek flag proudly. Absolutely."
"As long as we are engaged in storytelling that moves the culture forward, it doesn't matter what format it is."
"I genuinely believe we have an opportunity to revolutionize how we educate our children."
"I think that we have to continue to expand the areas in which we want our kids to be literate. And social media's going to be a part of their lives. And why not? Why not give them a sense of what the rules of the road are?"
"I fly my geek flag proudly. Absolutely."
a show aimed at teaching young children to read that won five Emmy Awards over its more than 20-year run (1983-2009). Burton became a household name for science-fiction fans in the mid-'80s as a star of the series Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994).
Famed actor, producer, director and author LeVar Burton was born Levardis Robert Martyn Burton Jr. on February 16, 1957, in Landstuhl, West Germany. Burton's father, Levardis Sr. worked as a photographer for the U.S. Army and his mother, Erma, was an English teacher. Burton's parents divorced when he was 3 years old. Subsequently, he and his two siblings relocated to Sacramento, California, with their mother.
As a teacher, Erma instilled in her children the importance of a good education and a love of reading. Also a practicing Catholic, LeVar's mother sent him and his sisters to parochial school.
Strongly influenced by his religious background, Burton entered the Catholic seminary at the age of 13 with the intention of becoming a priest. However, after reading the works of philosphers such as Friedrich Nietzsche and Søren Kierkegaard, Burton developed doubts about the dogma, so he left the seminary at age 17 and headed to the University of Southern California on a drama scholarship.
Two years into his education at USC, Burton auditioned for a role in writer Alex Haley's television miniseries, Roots, which told the story of seven generations of Haley's family. Burton's life would be forever changed after he was chosen for the lead role of the production, as slave Kunta Kinte. Roots broke all viewing records when it hit the air in 1977, and Burton became a poster boy for the discussion of race relations.
In addition to his performance in Roots, LeVar Burton appeared in several TV movies, including the Emmy Award-nominated Dummy (1979) and Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones (1980). But his big reinvention as an actor would come in 1983, when he became host and executive producer of PBS' Reading Rainbow, a show aimed at teaching young children to read. The series won five Emmys and a Peabody Award (1993), among various other honors, over its more than 20 years on the air (1983-2009). Burton received 12 personal Emmys for his work as host and producer of the show, in addition to high marks from critics for his warm delivery.
In 1990, Burton was honored for his achievements in television with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (7030 Hollywood Blvd.). In 1995, he earned an NAACP Image Award (outstanding performance in a youth/children's series or special) for his contributions to Reading Rainbow. The famed performer and producer would go on to win four more NAACP awards over the next eight years.
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Learn more about the stars of the wildly popular Star Trek television and film franchise. Created by Gene Roddenberry in the early 1960s, this otherworldly series debuted on the small screen in '66 and has since seen dozens of installments, most recently the J.J. Abrams-directed Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), starring Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Chris Hemsworth and Zachary Quinto. Learn more about other cast members of the franchise, including William Shatner, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart, LeVar Burton, George Takei, Kirstie Alley and Winona Ryder. Who knows, you might even discover your inner-Trekkie.
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