Al Roker

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Al Roker
Al Roker crop.jpg
Roker in July 2012
Born Albert Lincoln Roker, Jr.
(1954-08-20) August 20, 1954 (age 59)
Queens, New York, U.S.
Alma mater State University of New York at Oswego (B.A. Communications, 1976)
Occupation TV weather forecaster, actor, author
Years active 1974–present
Spouse(s) Deborah Roberts (since 1995)
Website
alroker.com

Albert Lincoln "Al" Roker, Jr. (born August 20, 1954) is an American television weather presenter, actor and book author. He is best known as being the weather anchor on NBC's Today.[1] On Monday, July 20, 2009, he began co-hosting his morning show, Wake Up with Al,[2] on The Weather Channel,[2] which airs weekdays from 5:30 to 7 am ET one hour and half earlier than Today. Roker also appears occasionally on NBC Nightly News. He holds an expired American Meteorological Society Television Seal, #238.[citation needed] Writing with Dick Lochte, Roker began a series of murder mysteries in 2009 that feature Billy Blessing, a celebrity chef turned amateur detective. The second book in the series, The Midnight Show Murders (2010), was nominated for a 2011 Nero Award.[3]

Early life[edit]

Al Roker was born in Queens, New York,[4] the son of Isabel, of Jamaican descent, and Albert Lincoln Roker, Sr.,[5] a labor relations negotiator, bus driver and dispatcher, of Bahamian descent.[6] Roker initially wanted to be a cartoonist.[5] He was raised Catholic[5] (in the faith of his mother) and graduated from Xavier High School in Manhattan.[7] He worked on several projects as a member of the school's Cartooning & Illustration Club. He attended the State University of New York at Oswego where he double-majored in graphic design and broadcasting/journalism. Roker is the cousin of actress Roxie Roker, who was most notable for her role as Helen Willis on the sitcom The Jeffersons and the mother of popular rock musician Lenny Kravitz.[8]

Career[edit]

Roker outside the Pentagon.

Before the national recognition, Roker worked as a weather anchor for CBS affiliate WHEN-TV (now WTVH) in Syracuse, New York from 1974 until 1976, while he was still enrolled at SUNY Oswego. Following the completion of his collegiate studies, Roker moved to Washington, D.C. and took a weathercasting position at independent station WTTG, then owned by Metromedia, remaining there for much of the next two years.

Roker's career with NBC began in 1978 when he was hired at WKYC-TV in Cleveland, then an NBC owned-and-operated station. After five successful years in Cleveland, Roker was promoted to the network's flagship outlet, WNBC-TV in his hometown. Roker returned to New York City in late 1983 as a weekend meteorologist, and within eight months became the station's regular weeknight weathercaster. Roker replaced 27-year WNBC-TV veteran Dr. Frank Field, who left the network after a contract dispute. From 1983 to 1996, Roker was the regular substitute for forecaster Joe Witte on the NBC News program NBC News at Sunrise, and from 1990 to 1995 filled-in for Willard Scott on the Today Show. In 1995, he became the host of The Al Roker Show,[9] a weekend talk show on CNBC. In 1996–1997, he hosted a game show on MSNBC called Remember This?.[9]

Roker started getting more exposure, especially when David Letterman asked him to do an elevator race with him in one episode of his talk show Late Night with David Letterman, which taped across the hall from WNBC's news studio in the GE Building. That led Roker to getting a job as the forecaster for Weekend Today.[6] He also substituted on the weekday edition of Today[6] when Willard Scott was ill or away. In 1996, Scott announced his semi-retirement from the show, and Roker received the weekday weather position on Today, where he has been since. He officially joined Today on January 26, 1996. Roker became popular for doing his forecasts outside the studio, interviewing audience members and giving some of them camera time. Roker also began doing more interviews and segments on the show as time progressed.

In 2005, Roker reported from inside Hurricane Wilma.[10] A popular viral video exists on the internet of Roker being swept off his feet by the force of the hurricane and holding on to his cameraman.[10]

Roker is a game show fan, and hosted a week-long segment on Today in honor of five game shows and their hosts. He also appeared as a celebrity player on both Merv Griffin game shows Jeopardy![11] and Wheel of Fortune.[11] In 2008, Roker hosted NBC's Celebrity Family Feud.[12] Roker also substituted Meredith Vieira for a week of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire shows on March 5–9, 2007.[13] Roker also hosted the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Roker also hosts various programs on Food Network,[14] namely, Roker on the Road,[14] and, Tricked-Out Tailgating. He is also the author of several non-fiction books, and an avid barbecue enthusiast.[12]

Roker was also the forecaster for several radio stations, including the New York smooth jazz radio station WQCD (101.9 FM) and for Cleveland smooth jazz station WNWV (107.3 FM). The service was called the "Al Roker Radio Weather Network", it was provided by United Stations Radio Networks. He has since been replaced on those networks by Accuweather.[15] Roker currently has a one and a half hour weekday morning stint 5:30–7 a.m. on The Weather Channel under the name Wake Up with Al. The 6-7 a.m. hour replays at 10 a.m.

Personal life[edit]

Roker at the 81st Academy Awards in February 2009

Roker's wife, his third, is fellow journalist Deborah Roberts,[16] who has reported for both ABC[16] and NBC,[16] meeting Roker when she joined the latter in 1990 as a reporter. Roker has three children.

On November 7, 2010, he ran in the ING New York City Marathon.

According to the July 2011 issue of Us Weekly in "25 Things You Did Not Know About Me", Roker is a first cousin to late actress Roxie Roker (Helen Willis character on The Jeffersons television series) and a first cousin once removed of rocker Lenny Kravitz.

Health problems[edit]

In 2002,[17] Roker underwent gastric bypass surgery to lose weight, which he said he did after failing at numerous diets. Eight months after that surgery, the New York Daily News reported he had dropped 100 pounds (45 kg) off his 320-pound figure.[18] On Thursday, June 7, Roker underwent a total knee arthoplasty (replacement, or "TKA") on his left knee. In 2005, Roker had a back operation.

Charity work[edit]

In 2007, Roker became an official supporter of Ronald McDonald House Charities and is a member of their celebrity board, called the Friends of RMHC.[19] He also served as the official spokesperson for Amtrak's National Train Day, which took place on May 10, 2008.[20]

Olympic logo controversy[edit]

On June 7, 2007, Roker described the reaction to the logo for 2012 Summer Olympics:

Remember that controversial Olympic logo for the 2012 Olympics in London? Some folks have complained that the campaign actually sent them into epileptic seizures. Well, we asked you to weigh in on our website in an informal poll; those of you who could get up off the floor after shaking around were able to actually log in.[21]

The following day Roker stated, "I started joking about [the logo]. I want to make this clear—I was not joking about epilepsy or anyone who suffers from epilepsy. We understand and know that this is a serious affliction and would never joke about that. We were joking about the logo—not about epilepsy. If anybody was offended, I heartily and really humbly apologize."[21]

Signature phrases[edit]

  • On many occasions on Today he has used the phrase "man candy" to describe attractive males.[22]
  • At the end of his weather segments when they cut to local broadcasters for regional updates he says "That's what's going on around the country, here's what's happening in your neck of the woods". (Willard Scott's outcue phrase was "Here's what's happening in your world, even as we speak.")
  • When he mentions Sunday's weather forecast on Fridays, often he restates the word "Sunday" sounding like it's coming from an echo chamber. This is likely related to radio ads for Sunday races e.g. at drag strips, "Sunday, Sunday (echo), Thompson Drag Raceway..." which was commonly heard e.g. on Cleveland radio.

Other appearances and activities[edit]

  • On the May 9, 1998, episode of Saturday Night Live (hosted by David Duchovny), Roker appeared in a "Mango" sketch with Matt Lauer. Usually, the sketch follows the fruitless pursuit of Mango by a character (portrayed by the cast member Chris Kattan). In the middle of this particular sketch, Roker appeared as the object of Lauer's affection. Instead of the famous catch-phrase "Mango, Mango!" Lauer says, "Roker, ROKER!!"
  • During the first inaugural parade of President Barack Obama, Al Roker was able to get the "first interview" with the President by removing his Fedora hat and yelling to the walking President to come over. Acknowledging Roker, Obama continued walking along the parade route, telling him "it's warm!"[23]
  • Roker holds the record for most appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, with over 30. He would often appear on the show as a last-minute replacement if a previously scheduled guest canceled their appearance.[24]

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1990 Another World Himself One episode
1993 Seinfeld Himself One episode
1994 Reading Rainbow Himself One episode
1994 Mad About You Himself One episode
1996 NewsRadio Guy One episode
1997 The Single Guy Dr. Benjamin One episode
Men in Black Alien on TV monitor Film; uncredited
1998 Superman: The Animated Series Weather Forecaster Voice; one episode
1998 Quest for Camelot Knight Film; voice
1998, 2007 Saturday Night Live Himself Two episodes
1999 Space Ghost Coast to Coast Himself One episode
2000 Will & Grace Himself One episode
2001 Sesame Street Himself One episode
2003 Freedom: A History of Us Christian reorder editor
Henry McNeal Turner
TV miniseries
2003, 2004 The Proud Family Faustian Al Roker Voice; two episodes
2003 Wholey Moses Weather Forecaster Short film; voice
Cyberchase Sam Vander Rom Voice; three episodes
2005 Robots Mailbox Film; voice
2007, 2012 30 Rock Himself Two episodes
2008 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa Newscaster Film; voice
2009 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Patrick Patrickson Film; voice
2011 WordGirl Sonny Days Voice; one episode
2011 The Big Year New York Weather Forecaster Film
2012 The Pirates! Band of Misfits! The Pirate Who Likes Sunsets and Kittens Film; voice
Treme Himself One episode
The Simpsons Himself Voice; one episode
2013 The Michael J. Fox Show Himself One episode
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 Patrick Patrickson Film; voice
2014 Sharknado 2: The Second One Himself Film; Cameo

Bibliography[edit]

Billy Blessing novels[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Al Roker - TODAY.com". Today.msnbc.msn.com. 2010-06-23. Archived from the original on 19 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  2. ^ a b Shea, Danny (April 29, 2009). ""Wake Up With Al": Roker Gets Weather Channel Morning Show". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  3. ^ Cogdill, Oline, "The 2011 Nero Award Nominees"; Mystery Scene, June 15, 2011. Retrieved December 5, 2011
  4. ^ "Al Roker Biography". Biography.com. 1954-08-20. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  5. ^ a b c "Al Roker Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  6. ^ a b c "Al Roker Biography (1954–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  7. ^ Al Roker Biography, The Biography Channel. Accessed November 18, 2007. "After graduating from Xavier High School in Manhattan, Roker studied communications at State University of New York at Oswego, where he got his first shot at weathercasting."
  8. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0737967/bio
  9. ^ a b "Al Roker : Chefs". Food Network. Archived from the original on 28 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  10. ^ a b "Al Roker Blown by Hurricane Wilma". I Am Bored. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  11. ^ a b "Al Roker to host ‘Celebrity Family Feud’ - TODAY Entertainment - TODAY.com". Today.msnbc.msn.com. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  12. ^ a b "Celebrity Family Feud | Watch Episodes Online for Free – Family Feud, All American Summer & Game Shows | Celebrity Family Feud – NBC Official Site". Nbc.com. Archived from the original on 1 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  13. ^ Al Roker at the Internet Movie Database
  14. ^ a b "Roker on the Road". Food Network. Archived from the original on 22 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  15. ^ Al Roker Radio Weather Network at United Stations Radio Network
  16. ^ a b c "Deborah Roberts – ABC News". Abcnews.go.com. 2007-04-28. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  17. ^ "The skinny on Roker's weight loss: Gastric bypass". USA Today. November 3, 2002. Retrieved April 23, 2010. 
  18. ^ Connor, Tracy (November 17, 2002). "Stars put fat-fighting surgery in the spotlight". Daily News (Daily News). p. 10. 
  19. ^ "Celebrity Friends of RMHC". McDonald's Corporation. 
  20. ^ http://www.docstoc.com/docs/91663828/AMTRAK-TO-CELEBRATE-NATIONAL-TRAIN-DAY
  21. ^ a b Starr, Michael (June 9, 2007). "Joker Roker: 'Sorry'". New York Post. 
  22. ^ Barrett, Liz (October 18, 2006). "Al Roker Sure Loves His "Man Candy"". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2007-03-02. 
  23. ^ "Al gets 'first interview' with President Barack Obama". Al Roker blog on MSNBC.com. January 20, 2009. Archived from the original on 17 February 2009. Retrieved March 13, 2009. 
  24. ^ "Al Roker Trivia and Quotes on". Tv.com. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 

External links[edit]