LeVar Burton Biography

LeVar Burton photo

Born: February 16, 1957

LEVAR BURTON

Date of Birth: February 16, 1957

LeVar Burton suddenly found himself famous beyond belief at the age of 20, when he played Kunta Kinte in the wildly popular TV mini-series Roots (1997). It was the show everyone was talking about, and the fresh faced actor wonderfully portrayed the pain, frustration and anger of being sold into slavery and forcibly brought to a foreign country. His performance earned him an Emmy award nomination. A graduate of the Southern California School of Theatre, other offers immediately followed for the talented young actor, playing the title roles in TV movies such as Billy: Portrait of a Street Kid (1997) and One in a Million: The Ron LeFlore Story (1978). He also moved on to supporting roles in major motion pictures such as The Hunter (1980) starring Steve McQueen, but mostly, Burton stuck to TV movies, eventually signing on for the children's show Reading Rainbow in 1983, becoming just as famous as the kindly host as he had for his breakthrough performance as an angry black man in Roots. Burton went on to win three Daytime Emmy awards for "Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series" in 1999, 2001 and 2002, as well as four Image awards in 1995, 1999, 2002 and 2003 for "Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children's Series or Special."

Burton reprised the role of Kunta Kinte in the sequel, Roots: The Gift (1988), as well as becoming a regular on the new sci-fi series Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was with this show that he first began directing, and holds the record for the most number of Star Trek episodes directed by a Star Trek actor. He moved on to TV movies, directing The Tiger Woods Story (1998) and Disney's Smart House (1999) as well as the Showtime TV series Soul Food (2000) and several episodes of UPN's Enterprise.

His feature film directorial debut came with the children's holiday feature, Blizzard (2003), featuring an all-star cast that includes Christopher Plummer, Brenda Blethyn and Whoopi Goldberg.

Married to Stephanie Cozart since 1992, they have a daughter, Michaela, born in 1995. He has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7030 Hollywood Blvd.

Filmography (director):

Blizzard(2003)

Filmography (actor):

Star Trek: Nemesis(2002)
Ali(2001)
Star Trek: Insurrection(1998)
Star Trek: The Experience (1998)
Yesterday's Target (1996)
Star Trek: First Contact(1996)
Star Trek: Generations (1994)
The Supernaturals (1986)
The Hunter(1980)
Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977)

Change Location