Known mainly for his roles as Kunta Kinte in the miniseries "Roots" and as Lt. Cmdr. Georgi La Forge in "Star Trek: The Next Generation,'' the 64-year-old Burton was also the longtime host and executive producer of the award-winning PBS educational series "Reading Rainbow.''
As grand marshal, he will oversee the 133rd Rose Parade, which is themed Dream. Believe. Achieve.'' The parade will make its way along Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena on Jan. 1, following its cancellation this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Burton, after introducing his wife Stephanie to the crowd gathered at Tournament House in Pasadena for the announcement, said he was "thrilled'' to accept the offer to serve as grand marshal.
"I come from a family, a home (where) the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl Game to follow has been a part of our family for years and years,'' he said. "Steph and I have continued that tradition. ... We are over the moon and beyond thrilled to be part of this amazing event.''
Burton noted that the announcement was made on National Teachers Day.
"So if you know a teacher, hug one, if you're vaccinated,'' he said.