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Ben Vereen            

Tony Award-Winning Entertainer

Few entertainers today are as accomplished or as versatile as Ben Vereen. His legendary performances transcend time and have been woven into the fabric of this country's artistic legacy. A Tony Award winner for his renowned performance in Bob Fosse's "Pippin," Vereen has gone on to solidify his place among Broadway royalty with starring roles in such Broadway productions as "Wicked," "Fosse," "Chicago," "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Hair," and "I'm Not Rappaport."

A legend not only on stage but also on screen, Vereen is best known for his iconic role as "Chicken George" in the groundbreaking television miniseries Roots. Recently, he guest starred on the television shows Grey's Anatomy (which won him a Prism Award), Tyler Perry's House of Payne, and Law and Order: Criminal Intent. He also appeared in the Emmy-nominated made-for-TV movie An Accidental Friendship, for which he earned a NAACP nomination. Vereen currently has a recurring role on the hit CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother.

In the face of his professional successes, Vereen has encountered his share of adversity. In 1987, his 16-year-old daughter Naja was killed in an automobile accident, a devastating event that shook him to his core. Then, in 1992, Vereen himself was in a serious car accident that led to a devastating stroke; as a result, he almost died. He was transported by helicopter from Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu on June 9th, 1992 to UCLA, where he was hospitalized for 42 days, 23 of which he spent in the ICU. For his entire stay in the ICU, he had to communicate by spelling on a board. Vereen was later transferred to a neurological and rehabilitation hospital where he lived for seven months. As a result of his multiple injuriesincluding the loss of a carotid artery, removal of his spleen, a broken leg, abdominal injuries, and a tracheotomyVereen had to undergo arduous physical and occupational rehabilitation in the ensuing months. Quite simply, although it was never simple for Vereen, he had to learn to walk, talk, and sing again.

Through persistence, an indomitable spirit, and excellent healthcare, Vereen miraculously recovered ten months later and was back on Broadway. "After all the years I spent helping other people with benefits and telethons and raising money for wheelchairs, all of a sudden I was using a wheelchair and I realized, Wow! This could happen to anybody.'" Vereen credits the timely care and treatment he received from his doctors, medical technicians, nurses, and therapists for his speedy recovery and ability to sing and dance again. It was this experience that has empowered Vereen to tour around the country at hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and hospital foundations and galas, sharing his message about showing up for life and the importance of quality care.

Adding to his string of hardships, in December 2007 Vereen was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. He quickly embraced his diabetes, speaking publicly about the disease whenever possible. Vereen started the diabetes campaign S.T.A.N.D. (StandforDiabetes.org) to encourage people to talk about the disease. He is also the spokesperson for sanofi-aventis, a world leader in diabetes care.

Putting his misfortunes behind him, Vereen has pushed forward and used the lessons he has learned to help inspire and encourage others. He has become one of the most requested speakers on the lecture circuit among audiences of all ages. His strong sense of social consciousness has enabled him to reach out to his audiences and convey to them a deep feeling of understanding. His topics range from overcoming adversity, arts in education, black history, motivational topics, recovery through physical and occupational therapy, and the importance of quality healthcare. He also acts as spokesman, spearheading a proactive and preventive campaign for those living with diabetes.

Vereen sees his work on stage as a metaphor for his work in life. "Life is art," he said. "Whatever we do in lifewhether it's performing or teaching or writing or raising kidsis a form of art. Whatever you do, if you embrace it, it will move you to the next level."

Because Vereen credits many of his mentors, including Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra, with setting him on the right path, he likes to do the same for other people. That's true whether they're entertainers, like the R&B superstar Usher, or youngsters living with diabetes. These days Vereen is on a mission to awaken people to the gift of life.

Speech Topics


OVERCOMING ADVERSITY

BLACK HISTORY FROM ROOTS TIL NOW

a retelling of Alex Haleys world famous mini-series, and what it mean then, and now. Other topics HOLDING ON TO OUR HERITAGE, THE IMPORTANCE OF BLACK HISTORY THROUGH CULTURE, THE ARTS INCLUDING MUSIC, ART, ARCHITECTURE, DANCE, LITERATURE.

STEPPIN OUT LIVE WITH BEN VEREEN

is a one-man concert show that comines a tribute to Bradway, Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. This program is ideal for foundation and corporate galas and company/hospital fundraisers.

LEARNING TO LIVE AGAIN:

BENS PERSONAL JOURNEY THROUGH RECOVERING FROM A NEAR FATAL ACCIDENT. THE ART OF PHYSICAL AND OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY are other topics Ben speaks on. Perfect speaker for all the forums, conferences, and conventions.

LIVING WITH DIABETES THE ART OF EXERCISE AND DIET.

THE BROADWAY JOURNEY

Ben performs songs with his keyboard player, and tells stories of all the musicals he starred in and those favorites that continue to resonate.

Learning to Live Again: Ben's Story of Rehabilitation

After suffering an accident so severe that it nearly took his life, entertainer Ben Vereen required intense physical and occupational therapy to learn to walk, talk, sing, and even live again. In an inspiring and motivating presentation, Vereen share his personal journey and the importance of the rehabilitation he received. He imparts a message of hope, conveying to audiences that, without the help of a dedicated team of doctors, nurses, and physical and occupational therapists, he would not be performing today – or living his life to the fullest.

Diabetes: Taking Control & Living Your Life

News


Ben Vereen Join Novo Nordisk Patient Ambassador Education Program

Novo Nordisk, a world leader in diabetes care, today announced new partnerships with Tony Award-winning actor and entertainer Ben Vereen and Academy of Country Music nominee RaeLynn, who both have...

'Making History': Ben Vereen Cast As Recurring In Fox Comedy Series

Ben Vereen has been cast in a recurring role opposite Yassir Lester and Adam Pally in Fox's new comedy series Making History.

Ben Vereen On His Decision To Promote Arts Education At The DNC

We need our creative thinking people in politics, in corporations to think on the up , rather than the down.”

Fox's 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' Casts Ben Vereen

Fox's TV adaptation of "Rocky Horror Picture Show" has added Tony-Award winner Ben Vereen as Dr. Everett Scott.

On his feet: Singer-dancer Ben Vereen to perform Sunday at ...

Tony-winning singer-dancer Ben Vereen, who has suffered more than his share of emotional and physical calamities the past three decades, is back on his feet.

Ben Vereen On His Decision To Promote Arts Education At The DNC

We need our creative thinking people in politics, in corporations to think on the up , rather than the down.”

Last Man on Earth Return Date Revealed: Midseason Premiere Airs ...

Fox has set the midseason premiere of Will Forte comedy "The Last Man on Earth ," and cast another character for its "Rocky Horror Picture Show" adaptation.

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