|Height:||170 cm (5' 7'')|
|Birth Day:||February 16, 1957|
|Birth Place:||Landstuhl, Germany|
|#1||Michaela Jean Burton||Daughter||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#2||Levardis Robert Martyn Burton||Father||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#3||Erma Jean Burton||Mother||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#5||Stephanie Cozart Burton||Spouse||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
|170 cm (5' 7'')||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
He joined a seminary to become a priest when he was 13 years old, but later had doubts about his religion.
Burton made his acting debut in 1976 with Almos' a Man, a film based on the Richard Wright short story "The Man Who Was Almost a Man," in which he stars alongside Madge Sinclair. His breakthrough role was as the young Kunta Kinte in the ABC miniseries Roots (1977), based on the novel of the same name by Alex Haley. Burton has described his first day playing Kunta as the start of his professional career. As a result of his performance, he was nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Lead Actor for a Single Appearance in a Drama or Comedy Series category. Burton reprised the role of Kunta Kinte in the 1988 television film Roots: The Gift. When asked about the societal influence of Roots, Burton is quoted as saying, "It expanded the consciousness of people. Blacks and whites began to see each other as human beings, not as stereotypes. And if you throw a pebble into the pond, you're going to get ripples. I think the only constant is change, and it's always slow. Anything that happens overnight is lacking in foundation. Roots is part of a changing trend, and it's still being played out."
Burton was the host and executive producer of Reading Rainbow starting in 1983 for PBS. The series ran for 23 seasons, making it one of the longest-running children's programs on the network. The series garnered over 200 broadcast awards over its run, including a Peabody Award and 26 Emmy Awards, 11 of which were in the Outstanding Children's Series category. Burton himself won 12 Emmy awards as host and producer of the show.
Burton played a role as a visitor to Fantasy Island, was a participant in Battle of the Network Stars, a guest of the Muppet Show's televised premiere party for the release of The Muppet Movie, and a frequent guest on several game shows. In 1986, he appeared in the music video for the song "Word Up!" by the funk/R&B group Cameo.
In 1986, Gene Roddenberry approached Burton with the role of the then Lieutenant Junior Grade Geordi La Forge in the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series. The character is blind but is granted "sight" through the use of a prosthetic device called a VISOR worn over his eyes. La Forge started out serving as the USS Enterprise's helmsman, and as of the show's second season, had become its chief engineer. At the time, Burton was considerably better known than Patrick Stewart in the United States, due to his roles in Roots and Reading Rainbow. When the show premiered, the Associated Press stated that Burton's role was essentially the "new Spock." In a 2019 interview, Burton laughed in disbelief at the idea, stating "that speculation never came to fruition."
In 1987, Burton played Dave Robinson, a journalist (sports writer), in the third season of Murder, She Wrote, episode 16 – "Death Takes a Dive", starring Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher.
In 1992, a clip of Burton's voice was sampled by DC Talk for the track "Time is..." on their album Free at Last. The sample is at the very end of the song, in which Burton can be heard saying: "Whoa, wait a minute." He has also lent his voice to several animated projects, including Kwame in the cartoon series Captain Planet and the Planeteers (1990–1993) and The New Adventures of Captain Planet (1993–1996), Family Guy, Batman: The Animated Series and Gargoyles. Burton is on the audio version of The Watsons Go to Birmingham: 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis. Burton has been cast as voice actor for Black Lightning in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies DVD.
LeVar Burton married Stephanie Cozart-Burton, a professional make-up artist, in 1992.
On television, Burton has helped dramatize the last days of Jim Jones's suicide cult in Guyana, the life and times of Jesse Owens, and the life of the nine-year-old Booker T. Washington. He portrayed Martin Luther King Jr. in the 2001 film Ali. He also portrayed Detroit Tiger Ron LeFlore in the television movie One in a Million, The Ron LeFlore Story.
After Reading Rainbow went off the air in 2006, Burton and his business partner, Mark Wolfe, acquired the global rights to the brand and formed RRKIDZ, a new media company for children. Reading Rainbow was reimagined as an all new application for the iPad in 2012, and was an immediate success, becoming the number-one educational application within 36 hours. At RRKIDZ, Burton serves as co-founder and curator-in-chief, ensuring that the projects produced under the banner meet the high expectations and trust of the Reading Rainbow brand.
In 2010, he made an appearance on Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! as the ghost of himself in the episode "Greene Machine".
In February 2011, Burton made an appearance as himself on NBC's Community in the episode "Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking", and then again in January 2014's "Geothermal Escapism".
Burton has appeared as a fictionalized, humorous version of himself on The Big Bang Theory, first appearing in the episode "The Toast Derivation", in which he almost attends a party thrown by Sheldon (before swearing off Twitter), in November 2012 in the episode "The Habitation Configuration", in which he appears on "Fun With Flags" in exchange for lunch and gas money, and again in the November 2014 episode "The Champagne Reflection", in which he returns for the 232nd episode of "Fun With Flags" in exchange for Sheldon deleting his contact details.
In 2012, he had a recurring role as dean Paul Haley on the TNT series Perception. For the second season (2013), he became part of the regular cast.
In 2012, Burton joined the board of directors for the AIDS Research Alliance, a non-profit, medical research organization dedicated to finding a cure for AIDS.
On May 28, 2014, Burton and numerous coworkers from other past works started a Kickstarter campaign project to bring back Reading Rainbow. To keep with the changing formats to which young children are exposed, his efforts are being directed at making this new program web based, following the success of the tablet application he helped create in recent years. His desire is to have the new Reading Rainbow be integrated into the classrooms of elementary schools across the country, and for schools in need to have free access. The Kickstarter campaign has since raised over $5 million, reaching triple its goal in only three days.
In 2014, he had a guest appearance in an introduction section for the 200th episode of Achievement Hunter's show, Achievement Hunter Weekly Update (AHWU). In May 2014, he appeared as a guest on the YouTube channel SciShow, explaining the science behind double, tertiary, and quaternary rainbows. Late in 2014, he had another guest appearance on a 24-hour Extra Life, a fundraising organization for Children's Miracle Network hospitals, stream by Rooster Teeth. Burton has also taped a recycling field trip for YouTube.
In 2016, Burton was one of the five inaugural honorees to the Sacramento Walk of Stars. In 2019, Sacramento named LeVar Burton Park in his honor. The park is located in the Meadowview neighborhood, down the street from the house where Burton and his sisters grew up.
In 2017, LeVar Burton was sued by the public broadcasting company WNED-TV for alleged copyright infringement for use of the Reading Rainbow brand in marketing the new iPad app and other online media. RRKIDZ is now known as LeVar Burton Kids and the iPad app is now called Skybrary.
In 2017, Burton began a podcast titled "LeVar Burton Reads". Each episode features Burton reading a short story.
Burton was raised Roman Catholic and, at the age of 13, entered St. Pius X Minor Seminary in Galt, California, to become a priest. While in seminary, he read works by the philosophers Laozi, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Søren Kierkegaard, which caused him to question whether Catholicism is the only true religion. At seventeen, Burton graduated with the class of 1975 from the Philadelphia School of Arts. Burton then went on to obtain his cinematography degree from Drexel University in 2019.
He has also directed episodes of Charmed, JAG, Las Vegas, and Soul Food: The Series, as well as the miniseries Miracle's Boys and the biopic The Tiger Woods Story. He also directed the 1999 Disney Channel Original Movie Smart House starring Katey Sagal, Kevin Kilner and Jessica Steen. In August 2020, it was revealed that Burton will sit in the director’s chair for Two-Front War from Lou Reda Productions, a multi-perspective docuseries will give "an emotionally raw look at the connection between the fight for civil rights in America and the struggle for equality of Black soldiers in Vietnam".
Currently, LeVar Burton is 66 years, 3 months and 13 days old. LeVar Burton will celebrate 67th birthday on a Friday 16th of February 2024.
Find out about LeVar Burton birthday activities in timeline view here.