Reading Rainbow Host LeVar Burton: 10 Things You Didn’t Know

Reading Rainbow with host LeVar Burton. If you grew up in the ’80s, ’90s or early 2000’s, you probably grew up looking forward to the next story LeVar Burton was going to tell you – in other words, all of our readers either grew up with Reading Rainbow themselves or had children who did. You probably know the song by heart. Butterfly in the sky…. (C’mon, sing along, you know you want to) I can fly, go twice as high, Take a look, it’s in a book, a reading rainbow…

On the off-chance that you were a deprived child and aren’t familiar with the Reading Rainbow opening score, here it is:

You’ve probably heard that LeVar Burton recently started a Kickstarter campaign to bring Reading Rainbow back, so that a whole new generation can continue to enjoy the show. If you did miss it, you can read about it in this Inquisitr article. In light of the Kickstarter campaign, and in honor of Burton’s efforts to bring this fantastic show to the next generation (see what we did there? LeVar also starred in Star Trek: The Next Generation), here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about the Reading Rainbow host:

10. Kunta Kinte in was not only LeVar Burton’s first role, but it was his first audition. The mini-series Roots – which also starred “The People’s Poet,” Maya Angelou, who recently passed away at age 86 after having to cancel an appearance at a Major League Baseball Negro Leagues Tribute – would go on to smash all television viewing records in 1977.

9. LeVar was an Army brat. His mother was a social worker, but his father was a career soldier in the active duty Army, retiring as a Sergeant First Class.

8. Burton was born in Germany. As a result of his dad’s military career, the Burton family was in Landstuhl, Rhineland-Palatinate, Deutchland when LeVar was born, according to his bio on IMDb.

7. LeVar Burton appeared on The Muppet Show. Kermit must have appreciated it, because he returned the favor and appeared on Reading Rainbow.

6. LeVar Burton not only acted on Star Trek: The Next Generation, but he also directed several episodes. In fact, LeVar, who grew up as a big fan of the original series, directed episodes in each of the four sequel series, logging more time in the director’s chair than any other cast member during the 1990s and early 2000s.

5. Burton’s voice was sampled and used in a popular Christian rap/rock song during the early 1990s by DC Talk. You can check it out here. That’s LeVar’s voice near the end saying, “Whoa, wait a minute…”

4. Six years before Reading Rainbow, Burton played as Detroit Tigers’ baseball star Ron LeFlore in One in a Million: The Ron LeFlore Story, which tells the story of how LeFlore went from prison to the Major Leagues.

3. Had things turned out a little bit differently, you may have heard Father LeVar Burton say Mass instead of listening to him introduce stories on Reading Rainbow. LeVar, whose mother was a devout Roman Catholic, studied for the priesthood from the time he was 13 until he changed courses to study theatre at age 18.

2. Speaking of his mother, it turns out that LeVar Burton comes by his desire to increase children’s literacy honestly. After working as a social worker, LeVar’s mother became a school teacher.

1. Perhaps the best of all things that you may not yet know about Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton… his Kickstarter campaign is fully funded with 34 days to go! That’s right, Reading Rainbow fans have come through and LeVar Burton will be able to introduce a whole new generation to Reading Rainbow.

[Image via Shutterstock; Videos vis YouTube]