Ben VereenActor / Dancer
Born: 10 October 1946
Birthplace: Miami, Florida
Best known as:
"Leading Player" in the Broadway show Pippin
Ben Vereen shot to Broadway stardom with his starring role as Leading Player in Bob Fosse's 1972 show Pippin, which won Vereen a Tony Award as best actor in a musical. Ben Vereen became a famously versatile song-and-dance man, a stage star who appeared occasionally in feature films and television. His most famous roles on TV include African slave Chicken George in the miniseries Roots (1977), Jeff Goldblum's partner in the 1980 cop show Tenspeed and Brownshoe (Vereen was Tenspeed) and the grumpy police captain in Silk Stalkings (1991-93). His feature films have included Funny Lady (1975, starring Barbra Streisand), All That Jazz (1979, also directed by Bob Fosse) and Idlewild (2006, starring Terrence Howard). In 1992, Ben Vereen was accidentally hit by a car driven by music producer David Foster in Malibu, California. The injuries seemed career-threatening, but the next year Vereen made a triumphal Broadway return in Jelly's Last Jam.
In the 1990s, Ben Vereen guest-starred on TV's Star Trek: The Next Generation as the father of engineer Geordi LaForge, played by LeVar Burton. In Roots, Ben Vereen had played the grandson of another Burton character, Kunta Kinte.
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