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Original “Roots” Star Leslie Uggams Has Mixed Emotions About Reboot

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Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Leslie Uggams became a household named when she starred as Kizzy Kinte Reynolds in the landmark ABC miniseries Roots in 1977.

With the new version of Alex Haley’s novelized story of a family’s journey from Africa to American slavery set to premiere tonight, the showbiz legend weighed in on the reboot.

“I have mixed emotions because Kizzy is such a part of me. So you’re very protective and that doesn’t mean that it can’t be done again,” Uggams tells ABC Radio.

In the new series, Tony Award-winner Anika Noni Rose, whom Uggams calls “a fabulous actress,” takes on the tough role of Kunta Kinte’s daughter, who faces her own set of brutal atrocities in America.

To this day, people still call Uggams Kizzy, which she doesn’t mind.

“Not at all. I mean that’s one of my pride and joy roles of all time,” Uggams says. “It was a privilege to play such a strong woman.”

Uggams is looking forward to watching the new version, which is co-executive produced by original Roots star Levar Burton.

“I’m sure it’s going to be wonderful so you’ll have two versions,” Uggams says, adding, “I’m sure they are to have some wonderful actors and actresses but we are the senior ones.”

Roots is set to premiere tonight at 9:00 ET and will air over four consecutive nights on History Channel, A & E and Lifetime.

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