LeVar Burton On What He’s Up to Now & Finding His ‘Roots’

LaVar Burton then and now
Everett Collection; Getty Images

LeVar Burton recently discovered some secrets about his own ‘roots’ in a current episode of PBS’ Finding Your Roots, a show that was inspired by the 1977 miniseries Roots, which launched Burton to fame with his breakout, Emmy-nominated lead performance as Kunta Kinte, an African slave brought to America in the 18th century.

FINDING YOUR ROOTSFathers and Sons LeVar Burton.

Credit: PBS

In the latest episode, “Fathers and Sons,” according to the hit PBS series, Burton’s great-great-grandmother on his mother’s side, Mary Sills, was raised by a man who was (unknowingly) not her biological father. In fact, Sills was the biological daughter of a white farmer and Confederate soldier named James Henry Dixon, who had a wife and family at the time.

LaVAr Burton collage with Roots, Reading Raninbow Star Trek

Everett Collection

Burton, who also received an Emmy nod as an executive producer of History’s 2016 Roots remake, has gone on to have a very long career since his days on Roots. The actor became even more famous thanks to a couple of dramatically different TV series. He served as the beloved host of PBS’ educational series Reading Rainbow from 1983-2006, and portrayed fan-favorite Star Trek: The Next Generation character Geordi La Forge during the series’ small-screen run from 1987-94, in four subsequent feature films based on the show between 1994 and 2002, and in the final season of Star Trek: Picard last year. Burton has also done a lot of directing; he helmed episodes of Next Generation and other Star Trek series produced in the ’90s and early 2000s, and directed other television episodes, most recently a 2023 episode of NCIS: Hawai’i. He married makeup artist Stephanie Cozart in October 1992; the couple has a son and daughter.

You can keep up more with Burton at his Instagram.

Finding Your Roots: Fathers and Sons can be watched here.

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September 2023

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