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|Also Known As:||Levardis Robert Martyn Burton Jr.||Died:|
|Born:||February 16, 1957||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Germany||Profession:||Cast ... actor TV host producer director executive|
At the age of 19, actor LeVar Burton was catapulted to stardom as the lead in the monumental television miniseries "Roots" (ABC, 1977), only to be confronted by a dearth of satisfying roles for over a decade. That is, until he took on the iconic character of Geordi La Forge in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (syndicated, 1987-1994). In the few years that followed the airing of "Roots" - a landmark in television history and American culture - the young actor found himself blessed with several starring roles in telepics such as "Billy: Portrait of a Street Kid" (CBS, 1977) and "One in a Million: The Ron LeFlore Story" (CBS, 1978). However, by the early 1980s those choice parts had all but disappeared, and Burton was forced to reconcile himself with series guest spots and supporting roles in television movies. Although his lengthy commitment to the children's educational program "Reading Rainbow" (PBS, 1982-2005) provided personal satisfaction, it was not until he landed the integral role of the U.S.S. Enterprise's Lt. Commander La Forge on "The Next Generation" that Burton truly made his pop culture comeback. In an industry known for its paucity of affirming characters for African-Americans, and in which landing one, much less two, career-making roles was all but unheard of, Burton's talent, diversity and perseverance served him exceptionally well in Hollywood.
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