LeVar Burton (February 16, 1957-) is an American actor famous for starring as Starfleet engineer Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation and its subsequent films.He first became famous for his Breakout Role as the young Kunta Kinte in the 1977 miniseries Roots, based on the novel by Alex Haley, before he went on to host the children's educational show Reading Rainbow from 1983 to 2009note (which has been brought back in the form of an iOS app in 2012; thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign during the summer of 2014, it's been revived as a web resource and school supplement).He's also a well-respected TV director, having started out on The Next Generation before moving onto Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, and episodes of non-Trek series like Charmed, JAG and Las Vegas. He also has done some voice acting, of which includes his role as Kwame in Captain Planet and the Planeteers. He is also now producing a remake of Roots using new historical information about Kunta Kinte's life.
Notable television credits:
- Roots (1977) - young Kunta Kinte
- Reading Rainbow (1983-2009)
- Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-94) - Lt./Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge
Notable film credits:
- Star Trek: Generations (1994)
- Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
- Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)
- Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
Tropes applying to LeVar Burton's career:
- As Himself: Has played himself twice on Community, on which Troy was written to be a big fan.
- Doing It for the Art:
- He has stated in interviews that his visor on TNG was so uncomfortable he pretty much had a seven-year headache. That takes commitment to a role. It's also a case of extreme Method Acting as it's stated the visor also gives Geordi extreme headaches.
- He spent 26 years on Reading Rainbow, and after the show was canceled he fought savagely to own the rights, because he genuinely believes in the Reading Is Cool Aesop
- And then he fought to bring it back. And succeeded.
- Excited Kids' Show Host: He was a Type 3 on Reading Rainbow.
- I Am Not Leonard Nimoy/I Am Not Spock: Zig-Zagged. To many people, he will always be Geordi La Forge, but even before TNG, he was extremely noteworthy, having starred in Roots and hosting Reading Rainbow. In fact, when TNG first premiered, he was the biggest name in the cast (at least in the US. In the UK, Patrick Stewart was the biggest name).