Several stars from the landmark television mini-series “Roots” are reminiscing about the history-making project ahead of Tuesday night’s installment of the PBS program “Pioneers of Television”. Stars LeVar Burton, Leslie Uggams and Lou Gossett Jr. discussed how the mini-series touched their lives on the “Today” show Monday Feb. 4 during an interview with Al Roker.
Burton who was a teenager when he played Kunta Kinte in the 1977 series talked about the role that would make him a star.
“Roles like that don’t come along but once in every other lifetime and so I’m just really grateful that 35 years later I’m, I mean we’re still here.”
Uggams who played Kizzy the daughter of Kunta Kinte says the series which is based on the book by Alex Haley also impacted those who tuned in during its run.
“We knew it was something special when were filming it but we had no idea what the impact was going to be. It was amazing. America stopped what they were doing to watch this television show.”
Gossett won an Emmy for his role as Fiddler and recalls a tough scene with Burton.
“Vic Morrow apologized before he did the scene because he was a good friend of mine. He said I’m sorry but I gotta go for it and I said go for it. I looked at that boy (Kunta) being beaten… I knew that it was just felt and it was make-up but something had to happen …the last line is your name is Kunta Kinte that’s what your name is and I looked at him (Burton) and I looked at Vic and I said there’s going to be a better day. And so that’s what Alex was talking about.”