Creator / LeVar Burton

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"As long as we are engaged in storytelling that moves the culture forward, it doesn't matter what format it is."

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).

However, then the TV station that previously produced Reading Rainbow came and sue LeVar, claiming that they themselves are working on a revival of the series, and that LeVar was mistaken- that they didn't sell the entire franchise to him lock, stock and barrel, but just licensed it to him. While LeVar lost the lawsuit, the worst that happened was that his project was just rebranded. In the meantime, time will tell if WNED's action would result in Internet Backdraft against the relaunched show, when and if it happens.

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, as well as the 1999 Disney Channel Original Movie Smart House. 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.

He lent his voice to Transformers: Rescue Bots as Doc Greene and Miles from Tomorrowland as Dr. Consilium.

He has two children, Ian and Michaela 'Mica' Burton, the latter of whom works for Rooster Teeth Productions.

Notable television credits:

Notable film credits:

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. Amusingly, going even further, after the second season, producers planned to establish that Geordi had undergone an experimental medical procedure to permanently restore his natural eye sight and eliminate use of his visor. Burton, however, firmly rejected the idea, claiming it to be a major disservice to blind people in real life.
    • 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.
  • 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).
  • One of Us: He's an avid fan of Rooster Teeth thanks to being introduced to Red vs. Blue by his daughter. When Monty Oum died in February 2015, Burton wrote a heartfelt letter in Oum's memory.

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