Roots 35 Years Later: Where Is The Cast Now?

Roots Kunta Kinte(SLIDE)( — On January 23, 1977, ABC aired the first of eight consecutive episodes of the twelve-hour mini-series Roots. Arguably the most successful television movie of all time — it was nominated for a combined 35 awards, and won 14, including nine Emmy awards.

Roots had a lasting impact on viewers, television, and its cast. On the 35th anniversary of its airing, theGrio recently took a look back at where the ‘Roots’ actors were then, and where they are now.


Cicely Tyson: Tyson, a former Ebony magazine model (and ex-wife of Miles Davis) earned an Emmy nomination for her role as Binta in Roots.

Tyson is also known for her Oscar-nominated role in the film Sounder, and she won an Emmy award for actress of the year in the television movie The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. In 2011, Tyson appeared in her first music video in Willow Smith’s “21st Century Girl.”


LeVar Burton: Burton became an overnight star with compelling and sympathetic portrayal of the prideful protagonist Kunta Kinte.

Since Roots, Burton is best known for his portrayal of Geordi La Forge on the sci-fi series Star Trek: The Next Generation and his educational kids’ show Reading Rainbow. His most recent directorial project Reach for Me, in which he also played a supporting role, was released in theaters in March 2008.


John Amos: Prior to Roots Amos was best known for his father role on Good Times. In 1977, he received an Emmy nomination for his role as an older Kunta Kinte in Roots.

Amos has continued to play minor roles in film and on TV, but has failed to find a role as self-fulfilling and influential to his career since. Alternatively, Amos has found his way back to theater, where he’s been recognized in productions such as August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Fences.

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