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Joseph M. Wilcots experiences the impact of 'Roots'

January 5, 2010 |  6:24 pm

Roots Joseph M. Wilcots, a trailblazing African-American cinematographer who died Dec. 30 at age 70, earned an Emmy nomination for his work on part seven of the landmark 1977 TV mini-series.

He was in his car, he said in a 2007 interview with the Archive of American Television, when he first realized the impact "Roots" would have on millions of Americans.

"I was racing home to see the first night's show, and I stopped at the stoplight and another guy stopped at the stoplight," Wilcots recalled. "I looked over at him, and he looked at me, and he said, "Roots'?" And I said, 'Yeah', and we both took off."

You can find Wilcots' obiturary here.

--Dennis McLellan

Photo: "Roots" star LeVar Burton said of Wilcots' work: "What stands out immediately is that the look and feel of 'Roots' holds up today, in 2010; it does not feel dated at all.  Credit: Los Angeles Times