Levardis Robert Martyn Burton Jr. (born February 16, 1957) is an American actor, presenter, director, and author. His first major part was the role of a young Kunta Kinte in the 1977 ABC television miniseries Roots, a role he reprised in the 1988 television film Roots: The Gift. In 1983 he became the host of the long-running PBS children's series Reading Rainbow, and again performed a lead role as Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation. He has also directed a number of television episodes for various iterations of Star Trek, among other programs.