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A star returns: City welcomes LeVar Burton home for official dedication of park

LeVar Burton talks about his Sacramento star

Actor LeVar Burton, Eagles band member Timothy B. Schmit, breast cancer specialist Dr. Ernie Bodai, Olympic swimmer Debbie Meyer and painter Gregory Kondos were honored on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016, with stars in concrete on an L Street sidewalk.
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Actor LeVar Burton, Eagles band member Timothy B. Schmit, breast cancer specialist Dr. Ernie Bodai, Olympic swimmer Debbie Meyer and painter Gregory Kondos were honored on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016, with stars in concrete on an L Street sidewalk.

What was formerly known as Richfield Park will be renamed Tuesday after actor LeVar Burton – and Burton himself will be present for the ceremony.

Burton was raised in Sacramento alongside two sisters and went on to became a distinguished actor, director and activist with multiple award nominations and wins.

When he was 19, he starred as Kunta Kinte in the seminal, award-winning miniseries “Roots.” The role – the first of his professional career – earned him an Emmy nomination for best actor in a drama series.

He later became the host and executive producer of the PBS show “Reading Rainbow,” which won more than 200 broadcast awards, and a director and star of the popular “Star Trek: The Next Generation” TV series.

On Aug. 31, 2016, he became one of the first distinguished locals honored in Sacramento’s Walk of Stars.

His mother and sisters still live in Natomas, and he visits “whenever possible,” he told Sactown Magazine in a 2012 interview.

“It’s my hometown, my home base,” he said in the interview. “I remember the trees, the rivers, the fog, the railroad tracks. The heat in the summers. Sting-Ray bicycles and riding to the levee. I remember inner tubes and jumping in the water.”

The official dedication of LeVar Burton Park will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 11 at 1900 Expedition Way. There will be food trucks, music - and LeVar Burton. Following the dedication, Burton will be recognized at that Tuesday evening’s City Council meeting at 915 I St.

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