Roker in July 2012
|Born||Albert Lincoln Roker, Jr.
August 20, 1954
Queens, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||State University of New York at Oswego (B.A. Communications, 1976)|
|Occupation||TV weather forecaster, actor, author|
|Spouse(s)||Deborah Roberts (since 1995)|
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. On Monday, July 20, 2009, he began co-hosting his morning show, Wake Up with Al, on The Weather Channel, 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. 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.
Al Roker was born in Queens, New York, the son of Isabel, of Jamaican descent, and Albert Lincoln Roker, Sr., a labor relations negotiator, bus driver and dispatcher, of Bahamian descent. Roker initially wanted to be a cartoonist. He was raised Catholic (in the faith of his mother) and graduated from Xavier High School in Manhattan. 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.
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, a weekend talk show on CNBC. In 1996–1997, he hosted a game show on MSNBC called Remember This?.
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. He also substituted on the weekday edition of Today 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. 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.
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! and Wheel of Fortune. In 2008, Roker hosted NBC's Celebrity Family Feud. Roker also substituted Meredith Vieira for a week of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire shows on March 5–9, 2007. Roker also hosted the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Roker also hosts various programs on Food Network, namely, Roker on the Road, and, Tricked-Out Tailgating. He is also the author of several non-fiction books, and an avid barbecue enthusiast.
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. 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.
Roker's wife, his third, is fellow journalist Deborah Roberts, who has reported for both ABC and NBC, meeting Roker when she joined the latter in 1990 as a reporter. Roker has three children.
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.
In 2002, 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. On Thursday, June 7, Roker underwent a total knee arthoplasty (replacement, or "TKA") on his left knee. In 2005, Roker had a back operation.
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. He also served as the official spokesperson for Amtrak's National Train Day, which took place on May 10, 2008.
Olympic logo controversy
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.
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."
- 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
- 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!"
- 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.
|1990||Another World||Himself||One episode|
|1994||Reading Rainbow||Himself||One episode|
|1994||Mad About You||Himself||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
|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|
|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|
|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|
- 2000: Don't Make Me Stop This Car! reflections on fatherhood ISBN 9780684868936
Billy Blessing novels
- 2009: The Morning Show Murders. Co-authored by Dick Lochte. ISBN 0-385-34368-X.
- 2010: The Midnight Show Murders. Co-authored by Dick Lochte; nominated for the 2011 Nero Award. ISBN 0-385-34369-8.
- 2011: The Talk Show Murders. Co-authored by Dick Lochte. ISBN 0-385-34370-1.
- "Al Roker - TODAY.com". Today.msnbc.msn.com. 2010-06-23. Archived from the original on 19 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
- Shea, Danny (April 29, 2009). ""Wake Up With Al": Roker Gets Weather Channel Morning Show". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
- Cogdill, Oline, "The 2011 Nero Award Nominees"; Mystery Scene, June 15, 2011. Retrieved December 5, 2011
- "Al Roker Biography". Biography.com. 1954-08-20. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
- "Al Roker Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
- "Al Roker Biography (1954–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
- 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."
- "Al Roker : Chefs". Food Network. Archived from the original on 28 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
- "Al Roker Blown by Hurricane Wilma". I Am Bored. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
- "Al Roker to host ‘Celebrity Family Feud’ - TODAY Entertainment - TODAY.com". Today.msnbc.msn.com. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
- "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.
- Al Roker at the Internet Movie Database
- "Roker on the Road". Food Network. Archived from the original on 22 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
- Al Roker Radio Weather Network at United Stations Radio Network
- "Deborah Roberts – ABC News". Abcnews.go.com. 2007-04-28. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
- "The skinny on Roker's weight loss: Gastric bypass". USA Today. November 3, 2002. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
- Connor, Tracy (November 17, 2002). "Stars put fat-fighting surgery in the spotlight". Daily News (Daily News). p. 10.
- "Celebrity Friends of RMHC". McDonald's Corporation.
- Starr, Michael (June 9, 2007). "Joker Roker: 'Sorry'". New York Post.
- Barrett, Liz (October 18, 2006). "Al Roker Sure Loves His "Man Candy"". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2007-03-02.
- "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.
- "Al Roker Trivia and Quotes on". Tv.com. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Al Roker.|
- Official website
- Al Roker at the Internet Movie Database
- Al Roker Investigates at CourtTV.com
- Roker's NBC biography
- Al Roker at Foodnetwork.com
- "Al Roker chats with Mad Dog & Billie on Toronto's MIX FM". Archived from the original on 2007-01-28.
- Roker's Favorite Books
- Al's Book Club for Kids
- Al Roker interview video at the Archive of American Television