Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr explores John Legend and Wanda Sykes Life

by Kevin Ross - Posted Monday, May 7th, 2012. Category: URBAN

john legendPopular Hollywood stars learn family secrets in second half of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the series that explores race, culture and identity through genealogy and genetics, Sundays at 8 p.m.

Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the PBS series that explores race, culture and identity through the genealogy and genetics of some of America’s best-known personalities, amps up the star power in its five remaining episodes. In upcoming weeks, Professor Gates unveils surprising facts about The Avengers co-stars Robert Downey, Jr. and Samuel L. Jackson, Oscar nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal, Grammy-winning musician John Legend, comedian Margaret Cho, and actors Adrian Grenier and Michelle Rodriguez.

Finding Your Roots made headlines since it premiered on PBS last month. News that entertainer Harry Connick, Jr,’s privateer ancestor captained a ship called the Rattlesnake (“That’s badass,” Connick exclaimed), that media icon Barbara Walters and education visionary Geoffrey Canada both had name changes in their families, and that award-winning actors and married couple Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon are also distant relatives fueled spirited national discussions about our shared history as Americans. Gates promises future reveals in the series that will keep viewers surprised and riveted.

In the following weeks, viewers will see the following:

·                 April 22: Maggie Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey, Jr., discover surprising diversity in their backgrounds, including Swedish royalty, Revolutionary War soldiers and Eastern European Jewish immigrants.

·                 April 29: Samuel L. Jackson, Condoleezza Rice and Ruth Simmons finally  find out the truth about the white  men hidden in their family trees.

·                 May 6: For Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Margaret Cho and Martha Stewart, our research teams travel around the globe to unearth the long-lost stories their immigrant ancestors left behind.

·                 May 13: John Legend, Wanda Sykes and Margarett Cooper learn about the extraordinary challenges faced by African American ancestors who became free before Emancipation ““ destinies that upset the status quo, with shocking consequences.

·                 May 20: In the series finale, we reveal that Michelle Rodriguez, Adrian  Grenier and Linda Chavez share tangled Spanish colonial roots among the Native American, African and European people ““ from conquistadors to crypto-Jews ““ who made the New World.

                      Filmed on location across the United States, the series airs nationally Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on PBS through May 20 (check local listings). Additional information about the series, Professor Gates and the entire production team is available at PBS PressRoom.

Clips and interviews about upcoming episodes are available on request.

Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is a production of Kunhardt McGee Productions, Inkwell Films and WNET in association with Ark Media. WNET is the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21, New York‘s public television stations and operator of NJTV. For nearly 50 years, WNET has been producing and broadcasting national and local documentaries and other programs for the New York community.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Stephen Segaller, Peter Kunhardt, and Dyllan McGee are executive producers of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Rachel Dretzin is senior producer. Leslie Asako Gladsjo is senior story editor.

Corporate funding is provided by The Coca-Cola Company, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald’s and American Express.   Additional funding is provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Atlantic Philanthropies, Ford Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts.   Support is also provided by The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and PBS.

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