Ben Vereen - Vereen Will Chronicle Search For 'Blood Family' In New Book
Song-and-dance man Ben Vereen is revealing all about his search for his "blood family" in a riveting new autobiography.
The dancer and actor admits he had no idea he was adopted until he had to apply for a passport in order to tour Europe with Sammy Davis, Jr. - when he was 25.
He tells BlogTalkRadio.com, "I didn't have a passport so he told me to send for my birth certificate. I didn't think about the fact that I didn't have one or there were no baby pictures of me. Turns out they didn't have my birth certificate under the name Ben Vereen but they had Essie Middleton as the mother of Benjamin Vereen.
"I told my mother about it and she told me she was hoping I'd never know. That's how I found out, so the story is about my journey of finding them (birth parents) and blessing the woman who raised me.
"It was an amazing experience for me and you'll read about it in the book and hopefully there will be a TV show where you'll see it."
Vereen, now 64, admits he's still coming to terms with his forgotten family after finally tracking them down just four years ago.
He adds, "The whole idea of hearing my older sister's voice for the first time was just amazing. We were both nervous seeing each other for the first time. Now she's always on my case.
"I also discovered I have a brother, Jimmy, and (another, called) Eugene. Can you imagine you're sitting at home and one day my sister gets a phone call: 'Do you know who your brother is?' She said, 'Yeah, my brothers are Eugene and Jimmy, why?'
"When they told her you have another brother and his name is Ben Vereen, she said, 'Get outta here, the guy who plays Chicken George in Roots?'
"Both mothers have since gone on (died), so finding aunts and cousins and a whole slew of people who are now in my life and my children's lives is wonderful and very rich. We had 110 people come to the family reunion and they embraced us into their family."