Ben Vereen

Ben Vereen

Known For: Acting · Birthday: 1946-10-10 (74 years old) · Gender: Male · Place of Birth: Miami, Florida, USA

36 Movies · 40 TV shows

Biography

Benjamin Augustus Vereen (born October 10, 1946) is an American actor, dancer and singer. Vereen gained prominence for his performances in the original Broadway productions of the musicals Jesus Christ Superstar, for which he received a Tony Award nomination, and Pippin, for which he won the 1973 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

Personal Life

Vereen has appeared as a public speaker and humanitarian speaking on such topics as black history, overcoming adversity, and the importance of continuing education.In 2007, he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and has a website in which he shares his personal story along with advice from medical experts.According to The Fayetteville Observer of April 29, 2006, Vereen learned while applying for a passport in the late 1960s that he was adopted. His birth certificate revealed that his birth name was Benjamin Augustus Middleton, that he was the son of Essie Middleton, and that he was born in Laurinburg, North Carolina. In April 2006, Vereen visited Scotland County with a genealogist on a search for family members and learned that his mother's name was Essie May Pearson. The Laurinburg Exchange reported: "Vereen, an adoptee who learned that he was born in Laurinburg and made a celebrated trip to Scotland County in 2006 to reconnect with family. While on the trip he learned his mother had died 24 years before, but that several relatives still lived in the area." According to her acquaintances, Essie had gone on a trip when Vereen was a child, and had left her baby in someone's care. When she returned, the child was gone. In the April 28, 2006 interview with the 'Laurinburg Exchange', Vereen said that his visit "has just all been so overwhelming ... I've finally found my family".In May 2006, he met his mother's daughter, (his sister), Gloria Walker, of Derby, Connecticut.He also has a brother, James Middleton, who lives in Tucson, Arizona.In the early 1980s, Vereen moved with his family to Saddle River, New Jersey.His 16-year-old daughter, Naja, was killed in an auto accident in 1987 on the New Jersey Turnpike when a truck overturned on her car.In 1992, Vereen suffered three accidents in one day, when his car hit a tree causing him to hit his head on the roof of his car, then he suffered a stroke while he was walking on a Malibu highway, apparently veering into the road where he was struck by a car driven by record producer David Foster. His critical injuries (including a broken leg) required him to undergo arduous physical rehabilitation in the ensuing months.Vereen is the godfather of R&B superstar Usher and is also the first cousin once removed of New York Giants running back Shane Vereen. Vereen was the keynote speaker for the Boys & Girls Clubs in St. Petersburg, Florida annual alumni tribute gala held in October 2007.In August 2011, Vereen was named Co-Artistic Director of Tampa's Broadway Theatre Project.In September 2012, Vereen filed for divorce from his wife Nancy Bruner Vereen of 36 years, citing irreconcilable differences.He is an active Democrat.Vereen was inducted as an honorary member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity on April 9, 2019.His 55-year old son, Ben Vereen Jr., passed away in 2020.

Early Life

Vereen was born Benjamin Augustus Middleton on October 10, 1946 in Laurinburg, North Carolina. While still an infant, Vereen and his family relocated to the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York City. He was adopted by James Vereen, a paint-factory worker, and his wife, Pauline, who worked as a maid and theatre wardrobe mistress. He discovered he was adopted when he applied for a passport to join Sammy Davis Jr. on a tour of "Golden Boy" to London when he was 25. He was raised Pentecostal.During his pre-teen years, he exhibited an innate talent for drama and dance and often performed in local variety shows. At the age of 14, Vereen enrolled at the High School of Performing Arts, where he studied under world-renowned choreographers Martha Graham, George Balanchine, and Jerome Robbins. Upon his graduation, he struggled to find suitable stage work and was often forced to take odd jobs to supplement his income.

Movies & TV shows

2021.

1 Movie
Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age

Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age

2021
Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age explores the world of Broadway from 1959 through the early 1980s as recounted by a diverse cast of Broadway stars who lived through it, creating a first-hand archive of...

2020.

1 Movie
Chita: A Legendary Celebration

Chita: A Legendary Celebration

2020
Broadway favorites salute a living legend, with performances from Rivera, Tommy Tune and Ben Vereen, as well as a video tribute from legendary composer John Kander.

2018.

1 TV show
TV
Magnum P.I.

Magnum P.I.

6.12
2018
After returning home from Afghanistan, a decorated former Navy SEAL named Thomas Magnum decided to use his military skills to become a private investigator in Hawaii with the help of fellow vets. The ...

2017.

2 TV shows
TV
Making History

Making History

2017
A professor creates a device that allows him and his colleague to change the course of events from the past in order to improve their current life.
TV
The Good Fight

The Good Fight

4.33
2017
One year after the final broadcast episode of "The Good Wife", an enormous financial scam has destroyed the reputation of a young lawyer, Maia Rindell, while simultaneously wiping out her mentor and g...

2016.

1 Movie · 1 TV show
TV
Bull

Bull

5.64
2016
Dr. The founder of a successful trial consulting firm is a brilliant and charming man.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again

The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again

2016
A couple seeking shelter from a storm end up in the castle of a transsexual alien mad scientist who is trying to create a body builder.

2015.

1 Movie · 1 TV show
TV
Sneaky Pete

Sneaky Pete

4.33
2015
A con man on the run from a vicious gangster takes cover from his past by assuming the identity of his prison cellmate, Pete, “reuniting” with Pete’s estranged family, a colorful, dysfunctional group ...
Chita Rivera: A Lot Of Livin' To Do

Chita Rivera: A Lot Of Livin' To Do

2015
A retrospective of Chita Rivera's film, television and stage career, including interviews with Dick Van Dyke, Ben Vereen, Carol Lawrence and others. Originally aired as Episode 2 of Season 43 of the P...

2014.

2 Movies
Top Five

Top Five

6
2014
A comedian tries to make it as a serious actor when his reality-TV star fiancée talks him into broadcasting their wedding on her show.
Time Out of Mind

Time Out of Mind

2014
George was alone on the streets after being evicted from his squat. He struggles with his demons and desperately trying to connect with the daughter he abandoned, he navigates the system, hustling for...

2010.

1 TV show
TV
Hot in Cleveland

Hot in Cleveland

2010
Three fabulous, eccentric, LA best friends of a certain age have their lives changed forever when their plane unexpectedly lands in Cleveland and they rediscover themselves in this new "promised land....

2009.

1 Movie
Tapioca

Tapioca

2009
A homeless man turns the world upside down. Tapioca is a funny, raunchy romp, a quirky, comic tale of redemption starring Broadway legend Ben Vereen (Roots), Tim Kazurinsky (Saturday Night Live), Greg...

2008.

1 Movie
Accidental Friendship

Accidental Friendship

2008
Yvonne Caldwell is a homeless woman who has lost everything except her two dogs. When a chance encounter with her dogs leads to a friendship with an officer of the Los Angeles Police Department, hope ...

2007.

1 Movie
And Then Came Love

And Then Came Love

2007
Successful New York journalist and single mom Julie Davidson's (Vanessa Williams) six-year old son Jake is acting up, so she finds his sperm-donor father Paul Cooper (Kevin Daniels), who's a strugglin...

2006.

1 Movie
Idlewild

Idlewild

4
2006
A musical set in the 1920's American South where a performer and club manager must contend with mobsters who have their eyes on the club, while his piano player and partner must choose between their l...

2005.

2 TV shows
TV
Grey's Anatomy

Grey's Anatomy

6.54
2005
The personal and professional lives of doctors are chronicled.
TV
How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother

6.4
2005
A father retells to his children the journey he and his four best friends took leading up to him meeting their mother.

2003.

1 TV show
TV
NCIS

NCIS

6.16
2003
Any crime that has a shred of evidence connected to Navy and Marine Corps personnel is investigated by a team of special agents.

2002.

1 Movie
Fosse

Fosse

2002
The three-act musical revue was choreographed by Bob Fosse. The creators of the musical were Richard Maltby, Jr. The Tony Award for Best Musical was won in 2000. The show was part of the Great Perform...

2001.

1 Movie · 1 TV show
TV
Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Law & Order: Criminal Intent

6.25
2001
The third iteration of the "Law & Order" franchise takes viewers deep into the minds of its criminals while following the intense psychological approaches the Major Case Squad uses to solve its crimes...
Feast of All Saints

Feast of All Saints

2001
The story is set in New Orleans in the 19th century and depicts a dazzling yet damned class caught between the world of white privilege and black oppression.

1999.

1 Movie
I'll Take You There

I'll Take You There

1999
A man is forced to move forward by a woman after his wife dumps him.

1998.

1 Movie
Why Do Fools Fall In Love

Why Do Fools Fall In Love

1998
Three women in the 80s visited the office of a New York entertainment manager. One is in L.A. One is a singer while the other is a teacher. Each claims to be the widow of a doo-wop singer, and each wa...

1997.

2 TV shows
TV
The View

The View

6
1997
The most exciting events of the day are being discussed on ABC daytime's morning chat fest. Hot topics in the news, the best experts in their field, celebrity interviews and general entertainment are ...
TV
Oz

Oz

5.88
1997
The daily lives of prisoners in Emerald City, an experimental unit of the Oswald Maximum Security Prison where in groups of Muslims, Latinos, Italians, and Aryans stick close to their friends and enem...

1996.

4 TV shows
TV
Second Noah

Second Noah

1996
ABC broadcasted Second Noah from February 5, 1996 to June 8, 1997 in the United States.
TV
Promised Land

Promised Land

1996
Touched by an Angel aired on CBS from 1996 to 1999.
TV
The Jamie Foxx Show

The Jamie Foxx Show

8
1996
Jamie King is an aspiring actor who wants to find fame and fortune in the entertainment industry. He supports himself by working at his Aunt Helen and Uncle Junior's Los Angeles hotel.
TV
E! True Hollywood Story

E! True Hollywood Story

1996
A documentary series on E! deals with famous Hollywood celebrities, movies, TV shows and also well-known public figures. salacious re-tellings of Hollywood secrets, show-biz scandals, celebrity murder...

1994.

1 TV show
TV
New York Undercover

New York Undercover

1
1994
Detective J.C is the star of New York Undercover. Two undercover detectives in New York City's Fourth Precinct were assigned to investigate various crimes and gang-related cases.

1993.

1 Movie · 2 TV shows
Once Upon a Forest

Once Upon a Forest

1993
A young mouse, mole and hedgehog risk their lives to find a cure for their badger friend who's been poisoned by men.
TV
The Nanny

The Nanny

6.18
1993
Fran, fresh out of her job as a bridal consultant in her boyfriend's shop, first appeared on the doorstep of Broadway producer Maxwell Sheffield peddling cosmetics, and quickly stumbled upon the oppor...
TV
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman

6.7
1993
The Man of Steel's early adult years were more focused on in the lavish version of the popular television series which had first aired forty years earlier. Clark Kent's creation of Superman was aided ...

1992.

1 TV show
TV
Intruders

Intruders

1992
Psychiatrist. Rational explanations don't seem to fit when Neil Chase encounters two women.

1991.

1 TV show
TV
Silk Stalkings

Silk Stalkings

1991
Silk Stalkings is a crime drama. The series depicts the daily lives of two detectives who solve crimes of passion among the ultra-rich of Palm Beach, Florida.

1990.

2 Movies · 1 TV show
TV
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

6.69
1990
Will, a street-smart teenager, moves from the tough streets of West Philly to posh Bel-Air to live with his Uncle Philip, Aunt Vivian, his cousins, and their sophisticated British butler. Will finds h...
The Kid Who Loved Christmas

The Kid Who Loved Christmas

1990
A family is torn apart at Christmas when the wife of a couple trying to adopt a son is killed in a car accident and the husband is deemed unsuitable to raise a child.
Mother Goose Rock 'N Rhyme

Mother Goose Rock 'N Rhyme

1990
Gorden returned home to find that his mom was no longer with him. If Mother Goose doesn't come back, the characters of Rhymeland are in danger.

1989.

1 Movie · 1 TV show
TV
Booker

Booker

1989
Booker is an American crime drama series starring Richard Grieco that aired on the Fox Network from September 24, 1989 to May 6, 1990. The series is a spin-off of 21 Jump Street and the second install...
Buy & Cell

Buy & Cell

1989
He was framed for stock fraud by his boss. While in prison, he helped a fellow prisoner invest his money. All the inmates want his help. The money was managed by CON Inc. Under the noses of the guards...

1987.

1 Movie · 2 TV shows
TV
J.J. Starbuck

J.J. Starbuck

1987
J.J. Starbuck was a crime drama that aired on NBC from 1987 to 1988. Starbuck is a billionaire Texan who wears ten-gallon hats, cowboy boots and fancy western shirts. He drives a flashy limousine with...
The Saint in Manhattan

The Saint in Manhattan

1987
Simon Templar returns to New York via Concorde and is feeling restless, until a note from an old flame surfaces. This TV movie was an unsold pilot for an attempted series revival.
TV
Star Trek: The Next Generation

Star Trek: The Next Generation

6.47
1987
Follow the adventures of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard and his crew are on a new ship.

1986.

1 TV show
TV
Zoobilee Zoo

Zoobilee Zoo

1986
Zoobilee Zoo is an Emmy Award-winning children's television series featuring costumed performers dressed as animal characters. It originally aired from 1986–1987, then in syndication until 2001 on sev...

1985.

5 Movies · 1 TV show
Puss in Boots

Puss in Boots

1985
A young man goes from rags-to-riches thanks to his talent. Ben Vereen, Gregory Hines, George Kirby, and Brock Peters are in the movie. Narrated byShelley Duvall.
A.D. Anno Domini

A.D. Anno Domini

1985
The life and adventures of Jesus's disciples and events in Rome during the reigns of the Emperors Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero are chronicled in this mini-series.
Jacques Cousteau: The First 75 Years

Jacques Cousteau: The First 75 Years

1985
Jacques Cousteau was the subject of a documentary.
The Zoo Gang

The Zoo Gang

1985
The nightclub called the Zoo was opened by a former boxer known as Old Leather Face. A group of homeless teenagers want to rent the place and start a business, but a gang threatens to shut it down. Ol...
Lost In London

Lost In London

1985
Facing his parent's impending divorce and emotional upheaval, a young boy runs away and joins a gang of London street urchins who live by their wits, begging, and thievery.
TV
A.D.

A.D.

1985
The 12 hours miniseries was based on the Kingdom of the Wicked.

1984.

3 Movies · 1 TV show
Lynda Carter: Body and Soul

Lynda Carter: Body and Soul

1984
Carter has a variety special.
The Jesse Owens Story

The Jesse Owens Story

1984
The Jesse Owens Story is a biographical film about an athlete. Harewood is playing an athlete. There were two more awards for the drama.
Breakin' Through

Breakin' Through

1984
Street dancers are people who know a mean beat as well as a mean street. Stage dancers are passionate about their work. When the two groups are brought together to boost the show, the results are less...
TV
Ellis Island

Ellis Island

1984
Ellis Island was shown on the CBS television network in 1984. The 1983 novel was adapted for the screenplay by Fred Mustard Stewart. The story of immigrants from the late 1800s to the early 1910s is t...

1983.

1 TV show
TV
Webster

Webster

5.33
1983
It aired on ABC from September 16, 1983 until May 8, 1987, and in first-run syndication from September 21, 1987 until March 10, 1989. The show is about a young boy who is adopted by a pro football pla...

1982.

2 Movies · 1 TV show
Night of 100 Stars

Night of 100 Stars

1982
The most expensive and exhausting videotaping session in television history took place at New York's Radio City Music Hall. The event, for which ticket-buyers payed up to $1,000 a seat (tax-deductible...
TV
Faerie Tale Theatre

Faerie Tale Theatre

1982
A children's television anthology series retells popular fairy tales.
Pippin

Pippin

1982
The musical uses the premise of a mysterious performance troupe, led by a Leading Player, to tell the story of Pippin, a young prince on his search for meaning and significance. The stage production o...

1980.

1 TV show
TV
Tenspeed and Brown Shoe

Tenspeed and Brown Shoe

1980
Tenspeed and Brown Shoe were broadcasted on the ABC network. The series was created and produced by Stephen J. Cannell.

1979.

2 Movies
All That Jazz

All That Jazz

10
1979
One of the most successful directors and choreographers in musical theater is Joe Gideon. His obsession with work has almost destroyed his personal life, and only his bottles of pills keep him going.
The Cheryl Ladd Special

The Cheryl Ladd Special

1979
A TV musical special starring Cheryl Ladd and her guest stars.

1977.

2 TV shows
TV
The Love Boat

The Love Boat

7.31
1977
The Love Boat is an American television series set on a cruise ship, which aired on the ABC Television Network from September 24, 1977, until May 24, 1986. The show starred Gavin MacLeod as the ship's...
TV
Roots

Roots

1977
The epic tale of Alex Haley's ancestors as portrayed in the acclaimed twelve hour mini-series Roots was first told in his 1976 book Roots: The Saga of an American Family. The docu-drama covers a perio...

1976.

2 Movies · 3 TV shows
Mary's Incredible Dream

Mary's Incredible Dream

1976
Mary Tyler Moore, Ben Vereen, Doug Kershar, Arthur Fiedler, and others starred in a special. Mary Tyler Moore acts out her wildest fantasies in a special. Mary started her career as a dancer. Moore si...
TV
The Muppet Show

The Muppet Show

6.14
1976
The muppets are performing.
Louis Armstrong - Chicago Style

Louis Armstrong - Chicago Style

1976
The story of how jazz great Louis Armstrong got his start playing in Chicago clubs, how he was framed on a drug charge, and how he first gained worldwide fame.
TV
Donny & Marie

Donny & Marie

1976
Donny & Marie is an American variety show which aired on ABC from January 1976 to January 1979. The show stars brother and sister pop duo Donny Osmond and Marie Osmond. Donny had first become popular ...
TV
The Captain and Tennille

The Captain and Tennille

1976
Hosted by the chart-topping husband and wife team, this 1976-1977 television variety series features a mix of hit music and comedy.

1975.

1 Movie · 1 TV show
TV
Ben Vereen... Comin' at Ya

Ben Vereen... Comin' at Ya

1975
Ben Vereen. Comin' at Ya was hosted by Ben Vereen and aired on NBC in 1975.
Funny Lady

Funny Lady

1975
In New York in the 1930's, a famous singer has divorced her first husband. Billy Rose is an artist who has trouble finding work during the depression because he is a newcomer who writes lyrics and own...

1970.

1 Movie
Gas-s-s-s!

Gas-s-s-s!

1970
A gas is let loose in the world that kills people over the age of 25.

1969.

1 Movie
Sweet Charity

Sweet Charity

1969
Despite having Faith in the human race, Charity hopes that she will finally meet the nice young man to romance her away from her sleazy life. Oscar could be the one to do it.

1967.

1 TV show
TV
The Carol Burnett Show

The Carol Burnett Show

5.33
1967
The Carol Burnett Show is a television show. It ran from September 11, 1967, to March 29, 1978, on CBS. The series won 25 awards. 16 of TV Guide's 50 greatest TV shows of all time were listed as one o...

1956.

1 TV show
TV
Tony Awards

Tony Awards

1956
The Tony Award for excellence in theatre is an award that recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The Broadway League presented the awards. There are awards for regional theatre and Broadway ...

1953.

1 TV show
TV
The Oscars

The Oscars

1953
The film industry is honored at an annual American awards ceremony. The Academy Award of Merit is better known as the Oscar and is given to the various category winners.
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