Oct. 10: Ben Vereen - "Jesus Christ Superstar, "All That Jazz" & "Pippin"- is 64 today.

Born October in 1946 in Miami, Florida, Ben is an actor, dancer, and singer who has appeared in numerous Broadway theatre shows.

A graduate of Manhattan's High School of Performing Arts, He was nominated for a Tony Award for Jesus Christ Superstar in 1972 and won a Tony for his appearance in Pippin in 1973. He also appeared in the Broadway musical Wicked as the Wizard of Oz in 2005.

Vereen has also performed in one-man shows and actively lectures on black history and inspirational topics. He has also starred in numerous television programs and films. N

Notable film roles include song-and-dance men in Funny Lady and All That Jazz. He starred in the television series Tenspeed and Brown Shoe, but is probably best known for his role as "Chicken George" Moore in Roots.

He also appeared as Mayor Ben (a leopard) on Zoobilee Zoo.

In 1992 he crashed his car on the Pacific Coast Highway and while walking around in a daze he was struck by a car driven by producer David Foster. Despite being thrown 90 feet, Vereen survived. After the accident, Vereen required special rehabilitation to regain his ability to speak.

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