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Besides his affiliation with Star Trek, Burton is known for his star-making, Emmy Award-nominated performance as Kunta Kinte in the acclaimed 1977 mini-series Roots.
He is also well known as the long-time host of the popular, Daytime Emmy Award-winning children's educational program Reading Rainbow.
He also played La Forge in the four TNG-era Star Trek films, in the TNG video game A Final Unity, and in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "", which he directed.Sikking, Vic Tayback, and Burton's Roots co-star, Ben Vereen), 1985's The Midnight Hour (with Kurtwood Smith), and 1986's Liberty (co-starring Frank Langella and Chris Sarandon).In 1988, he reprised the role of Kunta Kinte for the TV Christmas special Roots: The Gift, which also featured Deep Space Nine star Avery Brooks, Voyager stars Kate Mulgrew and Tim Russ, and TNG guest star Fran Bennett.Burton concluded the decade with the TV movie Dummy, in which he co-starred with Paul Sorvino and Gregg Henry.Burton and Sorvino worked together again on the TNG episode ".
An avid poker player, Burton has participated in the World Poker Tour.  Burton recorded a public service announcement for NASA to explain the purpose of the MAVEN mission to Mars, which launched on November 18, 2013.