Roots (1977)

Yaphet Kotto in 4 for Texas
Yaphet Kotto in Roots miniseries

Roots is a television miniseries in the USA based on Alex Haley’s 1976 novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family; the series first aired, on ABC-TV, in 1977. Roots received 37 Emmy Award nominations and won nine. It won also a Golden Globe and a Peabody Award. It received unprecedented Nielsen ratings for the finale, which still holds a record as the third highest rated episode for any type of television series, and the second most watched overall series finale in U.S. television history. It was produced on a budget of $6.6 million. The series introduced LeVar Burton in the role of Kunta Kinte. A sequel, Roots: The Next Generations, first aired in 1979, and a second sequel, Roots: The Gift, a Christmas TV movie, starring Burton and Louis Gossett Jr. first aired in 1988. A related film, Alex Haley’s Queen, is based on the life of Queen Jackson Haley, who was Alex Haley’s paternal grandmother.

Series Cast 

Yaphet Kotto           …        (unknown episodes)

Olivia Cole                …        Mathilda (6 episodes, 1977)

Robert Reed             …        Dr. William Reynolds (5 episodes, 1977)

John Amos               …        ‘Toby’ / … (5 episodes, 1977)

Madge Sinclair        …        Bell Reynolds (5 episodes, 1977)

Ben Vereen              …        ‘Chicken’ George Moore (5 episodes, 1977)

Louis Gossett Jr.      …        Fiddler (5 episodes, 1977)

Vic Morrow             …        Ames (5 episodes, 1977)

LeVar Burton           …        Kunta Kinte / … (4 episodes, 1977)

Lynda Day George  …        Mrs. Reynolds (4 episodes, 1977)

Leslie Uggams          …        Kizzy Reynolds (4 episodes, 1977)

Carolyn Jones          …        Mrs. Moore (4 episodes, 1977)

Sandy Duncan         …        Missy Anne Reynolds (4 episodes, 1977)

Chuck Connors       …        Tom Moore (4 episodes, 1977)

Edward Asner         …        Capt. Thomas Davies (3 episodes, 1977)

Ji-Tu Cumbuka        …        Wrestler (3 episodes, 1977)

Ralph Waite             …        Slater (3 episodes, 1977)

Lorne Greene          …        John Reynolds (3 episodes, 1977)

Thayer David           …        Harlan (3 episodes, 1977)

Scatman Crothers  …        Mingo (3 episodes, 1977)

George Hamilton    …        Stephen Bennett (3 episodes, 1977)

Richard Roundtree   …       Sam Bennett (3 episodes, 1977)

Lloyd Bridges           …        Evan Brent (3 episodes, 1977)

Georg Stanford Brown     …        Tom Harvey (3 episodes, 1977)

Brad Davis                …        Ol’ George Johnson (3 episodes, 1977)

Hilly Hicks                 …        Lewis (3 episodes, 1977)

Lynne Moody          …        Irene Harvey (3 episodes, 1977)

Lane Binkley            …        Martha Johnson (3 episodes, 1977)

Austin Stoker           …        Virgil (3 episodes, 1977)

Maya Angelou         …        Nyo Boto / … (2 episodes, 1977)

Moses Gunn             …        Kintango (2 episodes, 1977)

Thalmus Rasulala    …        Omoro (2 episodes, 1977)

Hari Rhodes             …        Brima Cesay (2 episodes, 1977)

William Watson      …        Gardner (2 episodes, 1977)

Renn Woods            …        Fanta (2 episodes, 1977)

Paul Shenar             …        John Carrington (2 episodes, 1977)

Gary Collins              …        Grill (2 episodes, 1977)

Lee de Broux            …        Trumbull (2 episodes, 1977)

Beverly Todd           …        Fanta (2 episodes, 1977)

Tanya Boyd              …        Genelva (2 episodes, 1977)

Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs       …        Noah (2 episodes, 1977)

Raymond St. Jacques             …        The Drummer (2 episodes, 1977)

Stan Haze                 …        Field Singer / … (2 episodes, 1977)

John Schuck             …        Ordell (2 episodes, 1977)

Roxie Roker              …        Melissa (2 episodes, 1977)

Elma V. Jackson      …        Mama Ada (2 episodes, 1977)

Lillian Randolph      …        Sister Sara (2 episodes, 1977)

Davis Roberts          …        Leonard (2 episodes, 1977)

Richard McKenzie  …        Sam Harvey (2 episodes, 1977)

Cicely Tyson             …        Binta (2 episodes, 1977)

Tina Andrews          …        Aurelia (2 episodes, 1977)

John Quade             …        Sheriff Biggs (2 episodes, 1977)

Ernest Thomas        …        Kailuba (2 episodes, 1977)

Ann Weldon              …        Mary (2 episodes, 1977)

Rebecca Bess           …        Girl on Ship (2 episodes, 1977)

Fred Covington       …        Auctioneer (2 episodes, 1977)

Hank Rolike              …        John (2 episodes, 1977)

Pat Corley                 …        Referee (2 episodes, 1977)

Joe Dorsey               …        Calvert (2 episodes, 1977)

John Dennis Johnston       …        Man at Cockfight / … (2 episodes, 1977)

Brion James             …        Slaver (2 episodes, 1977)

Rachel Longaker     …        Caroline (2 episodes, 1977)

Doug McClure         …        Jemmy Brent / … (2 episodes, 1977)

Richard Farnsworth …      Slave Catcher (2 episodes, 1977)

Tracey Gold             …        Young Missy Reynolds (2 episodes, 1977)

O.J. Simpson            …        Kadi Touray (1 episode, 1977)

Lee Kessler               …        Miss Constable (1 episode, 1977)

Big Joe Turner         …        The Singer (1 episode, 1977)

Henry Butts              …        Sitafa (1 episode, 1977)

Kermit Echols          …        Vilars (1 episode, 1977)

Maurice Hunt          …        The Doctor (1 episode, 1977)

Allen Williams          …        Robert Calvert (1 episode, 1977)

Brooks Clift              …        McAlmon (1 episode, 1977)

Ronnie Leggett        …        Kalilu (1 episode, 1977)

Helen Martin           …        Aunt Sukey (1 episode, 1977)

Bill Gribble                …        Seaman Grimes (1 episode, 1977)

Roosevelt Smith      …        James (1 episode, 1977)

Cindy Henderson   …        Bess (1 episode, 1977)

Betty Cole                 …        Sassy Woman (1 episode, 1977)

Macdonald Carey   …        Squire James (1 episode, 1977)

Ian McShane           …        Sir Eric Russell (1 episode, 1977)

Wally Taylor            …        Reverend (1 episode, 1977)

Sally Kemp               …        Lila Harvey (1 episode, 1977)

Burl Ives                    …        Sen. Arthur Johnson (1 episode, 1977)

Charles Cyphers      …        Drake (1 episode, 1977)

Todd Bridges           …        Bud (1 episode, 1977)

Grand L. Bush          …        Captured runaway slave (1 episode, 1977)

Wayne Heffley        …        Telegrapher (1 episode, 1977)

James Earl Jones     …        Alex Haley (1 episode, 1977)

Macon McCalman  …        Poston (1 episode, 1977)

Randy Miller           …        Kid Going to Church (1 episode, 1977)

Robert Phalen         …        Rufus Jackson (1 episode, 1977)

Yvonne De Carlo     …        Slave Owner’s Wife (unknown episodes)

Fred D. Scott           …        (unknown episodes)

Alex Haley                …        Himself (uncredited) (1 episode, 1977)

Chris Hendrie          …        Jimmi Brent, Evan Brent’s brother (uncredited)                                                        (1 episode, 1977)

Sonny Shroyer        …        Seaman Thompson (uncredited) (1 episode, 1977)

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