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Veteran Comic David Alan Grier To Play Cowardly Lion In “The Wiz Live”

The actor joins Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige in NBC's musical event, BuzzFeed News can exclusively report.

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David Alan Grier will soon be snarling and cowering as the Cowardly Lion in NBC's upcoming musical event The Wiz Live, BuzzFeed News can exclusively report.

A TV comedy veteran who first rose to fame on Fox's comedy sketch show In Living Color, Grier is also a three-time Tony Award nominee and will soon be seen in NBC's upcoming The Carmichael Show, which premieres Wed., Aug. 26.

The role of the Cowardly Lion was played by Ted Ross in the 1978 feature film's adaptation of the Tony Award-winning play The Super Soul Musical Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which itself was a soulful retelling of The Wizard Of Oz. The film boasts memorable performances by Motown acts Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.

Grier is the latest cast member to be named to the highly anticipated TV production, joining Queen Latifah, who will play the Wiz, and Mary J. Blige, who will play the Wicked Witch of the West.

Stephanie Mills — who starred as Dorothy in the original Broadway production of The Wiz — is set to play Aunt Em in NBC's live musical.

Dorothy will be announced Wednesday on the Today Show at 8:15 a.m ET.

The live show will be executive produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (The Sound of Music Live!, Peter Pan Live!, the Oscar-winning Chicago); and Tony winner Kenny Leon is the show's stage director and Matthew Diamond is the TV director.

The show will air live Dec. 3, 2015.

Kelley Carter is a senior entertainment editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Carter writes about and reports on films and television shows popular with black audiences.

Contact Kelley L. Carter at kelley.carter@buzzfeed.com.

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