BEN VEREEN Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Ben Vereen                                                                         
Birth name: Benjamin Augustus Middleton                                                 
Born: 10 October 1946 Miami, Florida, U.S.                                               
Ben Vereen (born October 10, 1946) in Miami, Florida, is a Tony Award-winning,           
Golden Globe and Emmy Award-nominated American actor, dancer, and singer who has         
appeared in numerous Broadway theatre shows. Vereen graduated from Manhattan's           
High School of Performing Arts. He was nominated for a Tony Award for Jesus             
Christ Superstar in 1972 and won a Tony for his appearance in Pippin in 1973.           
Vereen starred in the Broadway musical Wicked as the Wizard of Oz (and was               
originally considered for the role of the Scarecrow in The Wiz), replacing               
former Wizard George Hearn on May 31, 2005. He was replaced by tour Wizard David         
Garrison on April 4, 2006.                                                               
In addition to his work in the theatre, he toured with people across the country         
such as Tony Ventura, son of Charlie Ventura. He has also starred in numerous           
television programs and films. Notable film roles include song-and-dance men in         
Funny Lady and All That Jazz. He appeared on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode         
"Papa's Got a Brand New Excuse", in which he played Will Smith's biological             
father. He starred in the television series Tenspeed and Brown Shoe but is               
probably best known for his role as "Chicken" George Moore in Roots and possibly         
as Commander Edward M. La Forge, father of Geordi La Forge, on Star Trek: The           
Next Generation in 1993. Other TV appearances include:                                   
Faerie Tale Theatre                                                                     
The Jamie Foxx Show                                                                     
The Love Boat                                                                           
The Muppet Show                                                                         
The Nanny                                                                               
Touched by an Angel                                                                     
Zoobilee Zoo                                                                             
Vereen has also performed in one-man shows and actively lectures on black               
history and inspirational topics.                                                       
In 1992, he was accidentally struck while walking on the Pacific Coast Highway           
by a car driven by producer/composer David Foster.