On This Day … 16 February [2023]

People (Births)

  • 1957 – LeVar Burton, American actor, director, and producer

People (Deaths)

  • 1996 – Roger Bowen, American actor and author (b. 1932)

LeVar Burton

Levardis Robert Martyn “LeVar” Burton Jr. (born 16 February 1957) is an American actor, director, and television host. He played Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994), Kunta Kinte in the ABC miniseries Roots (1977), and was host of the PBS Kids educational television series Reading Rainbow for more than 23 years (1983-2006). He received 12 Daytime Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award as host and executive producer of Reading Rainbow.

His other roles include Cap Jackson in Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977), Donald Lang in Dummy (1979), Tommy Price in The Hunter (1980), which earned him an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture, and Martin Luther King Jr. in Ali (2001). Burton received the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards for his narration of the book The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. In 1990, he was honoured for his achievements in television with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Burton was chosen as the Grand Marshal of the 2022 Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

Roger Bowen

Roger Wendell Bowen (May 25, 1932 – February 16, 1996) was an American comedic actor and novelist, best known for his portrayal of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake in the 1970 film M*A*S*H.

Bowen considered himself a writer who only moonlighted as an actor. He wrote eleven novels (including Just Like a Movie) as well as sketches for Broadway and television. He was also one of the co-founders of Chicago’s comedy and acting troupe The Second City.

His first film role was 1968’s Petulia, but his big movie break came in 1970 when he landed the role of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake in Robert Altman’s film M*A*S*H. Bowen had in fact served in the US Army in Korea, albeit after the Korean War had ended. After serving in Japan as a Special Agent in the Counter Intelligence Corps (441st CIC Detachment – Bepu Field Office) from 1957-1958, Bowen was sent to the 308th CIC Detachment in Seoul, South Korea in 1958.

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