The multi-talented Ben Vereen was born Benjamin Augustus Middleton in 1946 in Laurinburg, NC and was raised in Miami, Florida and Brooklyn, NY after his adoption as an infant. He attended New York's famed High School of Performing Arts and Emerson College, which prepared him for a lifetime in theater. After several parts in small off-Broadway productions during the late 1960s, he had the opportunity to appear in 2 lead roles in the 1969 Broadway musical Hair. Several years later, his acclaimed performances in the Broadway productions of Jesus Christ Superstar in 1972 and Pippin in 1973, garnered him a Tony nomination and eventually a Tony award, propelling his career to new heights on the stage, in film, and on television. He has made numerous guest star appearances throughout the 1970s to the present time, including the unforgettable role as "Chicken George" Moore in the ABC miniseries Roots broadcast in 1977.