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LeVar Burton: ‘Roots was my first audition’

Back in the late 70s, actor LeVar Burton was a sophomore at USC when he landed the starring role of Kunta Kinte in the landmark mini-series, Roots. In fact, Burton was so uninterested in TV (and film, too) that he didn’t even have an agent.

Roots was my first audition. The business had exhausted all the normal means of finding professional talent. They’d seen every young, black kid in L.A. who had an agent, and they were beating the bushes,” Burton said in the final installment of our Media Beat interview. “My goal was to graduate with a BFA (a bachelor of fine arts majoring in drama) and move to New York and work on Broadway. I had no aspirations toward television or film work at all. I was a theater baby.”

So, how has he managed to rack up this crazy long list of credits? ”You would be surprised,” he said. “For me, it’s not like I’m making the decisions. It’s just about what the universe brings to me.”

Part 1: LeVar Burton on the Future of Reading Rainbow & Printed Books
Part 2: LeVar Burton: By Not Focusing on Reading, “We’re sacrificing our kids”

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