LeVar Burton Lost ‘Jeopardy!’ and He’s Totally OK With That.

Emily Berl for The Washington Post via Getty

Emily Berl for The Washington Post by way of Getty

“I am thrilled. I am literally over the moon—well, not literally, but virtually,” exclaimed LeVar Burton, about his newest achievement, post-Jeopardy!: The Rose Parade in Pasadena final week named Burton its 2022 grand marshal. And he spoke about it on a day two of his fellow Star Trek stars additionally reached new heights, one fairly actually: “The Shat went to space and came back safe. It’s a good day!”

Burton informed The Daily Beast he was moved by actor William Shatner’s first phrases upon returning to Earth from the flight aboard Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket to the sting of house.

“And wasn’t he eloquent upon returning?” mentioned Burton. “People don’t understand: Bill feels shit, deeply. When he said ‘I hope I never recover,’ that was awesome.”

Burton wouldn’t say whether or not he’d be prepared to comply with Shatner into house, or near it, as he’s targeted on serving to kids right here on Earth reach their very own stars by means of his second ebook, simply printed, A Kids Book About Imagination. His first ebook, Aftermath, was a prescient 1997 science-fiction novel depicting the United States being torn aside by civil conflict and racial strife.

<div class="inline-image__credit">A Kids Company About</div>
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A Kids Company About

“This is the story of my take on the importance of imagination to the human being, and I’m sharing that in in a way that a child can really understand,” mentioned the previous host and govt producer of Reading Rainbow. He added that one of many issues he’s most pleased with in a profession that’s spanned 44 years thus far, starting with Roots, is having the ability to communicate to totally different audiences.

“Wildly disparate audiences, simultaneously, and an audience of children being one of them,” he supplied. “I don’t think that can be overstated how difficult that is, because if it were easy, everybody would be doing it. So, I love speaking to kids, especially in a way that can help them form and formulate, know who they are and where they’re going in life.”

With illustrations by Duke Stebbins and the assistance of A Kids Book About writer Jelani Memory, Burton immediately addresses a few of the largest questions society nonetheless grapples with in 2021: “What if you lived in a world that was fair for everyone? What if prejudice or racism didn’t exist? What if everyone you cared about felt safe and loved? What if every kid felt like they belonged?”

“We cannot have a just and equitable society unless we can imagine one,” Burton mentioned. “My intention with this book was to get the information in the hands of those who can use it most, as early as possible. ‘Your imagination is a muscle.’ You got to use it, and it is unlimited. So, don’t be afraid to use it often and in big and exciting and unexpected ways.”

Jeri Ryan Is a ‘Star Trek’ Icon—and One of the Most Important Political Figures of Our Time

Burton additionally pays tribute to his mom, Erma Gene Christian, “an avid reader,” he wrote. “She introduced me to the world of books.”

“Every time I have the opportunity to speak my mother’s name, I do,” he informed The Daily Beast. “I am the man I am because she was the woman she was, and that’s the truth. So, everything that I’ve ever done in the field of literacy is done in her name and in her honor because she was my first teacher.” Burton recalled his mom not solely learn to him and his sisters, but additionally learn in entrance of them.

“That was really important modeling,” he mentioned. “I grew up in a house where it was expected that you read. We read three daily newspapers when I was a kid. Reading was important, and it was communicated as an important activity, an important thing for us to do, by my mom.”

Burton, who is maybe most well-known for enjoying Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation, not too long ago collaborated together with his co-stars on the audiobook for Brent Spiner’s debut novel, Fan Fiction: A Mem-Noir. Last 12 months, Spiner, the actor who performed the android “Data,” created a make-believe feud with Burton for a brief movie. Burton assures followers it’s all an act.

“We genuinely love one another,” he mentioned. “I think that without really trying we’ve demonstrated over the years how much we mean to one another.”

Spiner and Jonathan Frakes appeared within the first season of the Paramount streaming collection, Star Trek: Picard, and Whoopi Goldberg is anticipated to look in season two subsequent 12 months, however Burton has no quick plans to reprise the position of La Forge. “I don’t think the contact lenses would work anymore,” he mentioned of the prop used within the movies that allowed the blind character to see. The “ocular implants” changed a remanufactured banana clip used within the collection referred to as the VISOR. “We’re not going back to the VISOR. That’s definitely a part of my past.”

Speaking of the previous, one of the vital standard Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes of all time paired Burton’s character with actor James Doohan, who performed “Scotty” on the unique collection. In “Relics,” Chief Engineer La Forge was, to place it kindly, in no way affected person with the unique Enterprise’s “miracle worker.”

“I had a great time with Jimmy,” recalled Burton. “The storyline had nothing to do with how we got along, I have to say. You know, I tend to forget how much of a dick Geordi was in ‘Relics!’ But then, there’s the argument that at the end of the day, he was kind of a creepazoid on the holodeck with Dr. Leah Brahms,” within the episodes “Booby Trap” and “Galaxy’s Child.”

“I guess the real legacy of Geordi La Forge is that he’s a little darker than we ever suspected,” laughed Burton.

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The actor reunited with a number of Star Trek costars on the Skirball Cultural Center in L.A. final month for a celebration of the 55-year-old franchise. “Star Trek Day a few weeks ago was wild because I recognized immediately there are a lot of people who have joined the family that I don’t know! So, I just kept introducing myself to people,” he mentioned.

Burton stays tight-lipped about his subsequent challenge, however no matter it’s, he’s closed the door on ever internet hosting Jeopardy!. “Even if they called with a new offer?” I ask.

“I’d say, ‘No. You’ve got to be kidding me! You’re out of your mind. Goodbye!’” And then Burton clarified why he would hold up: He’s moved on.

“I want to make it clear, for the record, that I’m really happy with the way things worked out,” he mentioned. “I was disappointed to not get the job, but I’m the sort of person, I believe that everything happens for a reason. And if I didn’t get that job, that meant it wasn’t supposed to be for me, and I accepted that almost instantly and willingly. I know that the opportunities that are in front of me right now wouldn’t have come my way had I gotten the job, so I’m certain that this has worked out better for me than I could ever have imagined.”

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