LeVar Burton (born Levardis Robert Martyn Burton, Jr.) was born in Landstuhl, Germany to Sgt. Levardis Robert Burton Sr, (a photographer for the U.S. Army) and Erma Burton (a teacher and social worker) on February 16 1957. When he was three years old, his parents separated and LeVar…more
LeVar served on the 2009-2010 Board of Trustees for the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. The board was chaired by Laura Shepard-Churchley, daughter of Mercury and Apollo astronaut Alan Shepard. Others who served on the board of trustees were Gemini and Apollo astronauts Gene Cernan and Thomas Stafford; Actors Bill Dana and Tom Hanks; Mercury astronaut widows Suzi Cooper, Jo Schirra and Bobbie Slayton; journalist, Walter Cronkite; and philanthropists Henri Landwirth, James Long and Don Ricci.
On July 13 2009, LeVar was involved in a car accident which sent him and the other driver to the hospital. Neither driver was seriously injured and both were released that same day.
As an avid Twitterer, LeVar Burton has over 1 270 000 people following his tweets. His army of followers is one of the largest in the world.
In partership with WKAR in Michigan, LeVar Burton will participate in the 15th annual Reading Rainbow Young Writers & Illustrators Contest for children from kindergarten through third grade in the spring of 2009.
On the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, LeVar Burton moderated the program, "A Tribute to the Movement & the Man." Speakers included Bernice King (Dr. King's daughter); Martin Luther King, III; Rev. Al Sharpton; Charles Steele of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Rev. Joseph Lowery, a disciple of Dr. King.
On September 8 2008, LeVar appeared on stage with "Roots" co-star Ben Vereen during the Reprise Theatre Company's presentation of Ben Vereen: Up Close & Musical.
During the 2008 Democratic Party National Convention in Denver, LeVar presided over a Unity Prayer Breakfast commemorating the 45th Anniversary of the March on Washington. Notable speakers included Martin Luther King III, Reverend Joseph Lowery, Congressman John Lewis, Blair Underwood and Alfre Woodard
He performed background vocals on Brent Spiner's 1991 album Ol' Yellow Eyes is Back along with castmates Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes and Michael Dorn. Together, they called themselves The Sunspots.
As an avid poker player, LeVar participated in the World Poker Tour in 2005.
He is the only Star Trek actor who has directed episodes in three different Star Trek series. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Enterprise and Star Trek: Voyager).
In 2006, he was nominated for a Black Reel Award in the category "Best Director-Television" for his work on Miracle's Boys.
While he was still a student at the university, he won the role of Kunta Kinte in the 1977 TV miniseries Roots
Following his love of literature, LeVar authored several books, including Native Artists of Africa (1994), Reading Rainbow Guide To Childrens Books: The 101 Best Titles (1996), and Aftermath (1997).
In 1987, his salary for Star Trek: The Next Generation was $100,000 per episode.
In 1990, LeVar was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to Television. His star can be found at 7030 Hollywood Blvd., in Hollywood, California.
LeVar has been nominated for the Image Award for Outstanding Performance in a Youth or Children's Series/Special for: Reading Rainbow in a number of years. He had been nominated a total of 7 awards and had won 4.
In 2004, LeVar & co. were nominated for the Genie Award for Best Achievement in Music - Original Song for: Blizzard (2003).
In 1977, LeVar was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor for a Single Appearance in a Drama or Comedy Series for: Roots (1977).
LeVar had been nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series for: Reading Rainbow a total of 10 times and had won it twice. The show itself had been nominated for Outstanding Children's Series 8 times and had won 7 times.
In 2004, LeVar won the Best of the Fest Award for: Blizzard (2003) at the Chicago International Children's Film Festival.
LeVar was featured as Geordi LaForge in Star Trek: Orion Rendezvous, the Star Trek planetarium production sanctioned by Paramount Pictures. Star Trek: Orion Rendezvous has played at science centers and planetariums nationwide as part of Star Trek: Federation Science, where Burton also participated in videos with other cast members of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
He had played a police lieutenant in the music video for Cameo's Word up.
LeVar holds the record for the most number of Star Trek episodes directed by a cast member. He directed a total of 29 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise.
Levar Burton: I was a huge Star Trek fan when I was a kid. I loved science fiction literature and it was rare for me to see… heroes in the pages of those novels who looked like me. Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future said to me, you..you little black kid from Sacramento, California, reading science fiction books...when the future comes, there's a place for you.
LeVar Burton: (when talking about Twitter) I get to control the conversation I have with my fans. It's put my career back in my hands.
LeVar Burton: (discussing the eleventh Star Trek movie) I went online recently and saw the trailer because I was curious. It looked good. Now, the idea of a Starfleet Academy movie was kicking around even before they made The Next Generation, so that in itself isn't new, but J.J. Abrams is really a telented guy and I hope he puts his spin on it.
LeVar Burton: (discussing Stuart Baird, director of Star Trek Nemesis) This was a director who hadn't even seen Star Trek. I was pre-occupied at the time of shooting Nemesis. I was prepping Blizzard [a Christmas story about a reindeer] and as frustrating as making that movie was, I had other fish to fry.
LeVar Burton: The country watched Roots together and then we talked about it the next day in schools, at work, in the shopping malls. That's unlikely to happen today. We don't live in the same world that we did in 1977.
LeVar Burton: Life is about experience, so drink it up.
LeVar Burton: (dicussing his relationships with the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation) Over the years, we've all become very, very close. And I feel like I have life-long friendships as a result of Star Trek. You can't put a price on that.