#7 LeVar Burton
Star Trek series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Character name: Geordi LaForge
Though his appearance as LaForge in all seven seasons of The Next Generation and in four TNG movies made him more popular, Burton was one of the few Star Trek cast actors who had already made a name for himself before debuting in the franchise. He is known for his star-making, Emmy Award-nominated performance as Kunta Kinte in the critically acclaimed 1977 ABC miniseries Roots. He was also the longtime host of the popular, Daytime Emmy Award-winning children’s educational program Reading Rainbow, which ran from 1983 to 2006.
Aside from doing acting projects following his Star Trek stint, Burton has also become a full-blown director. In addition to 29 Star Trek episodes that he has helmed, his directorial credits also include The WB’s Charmed and CBS’ NCIS: New Orleans.