White in December 2010
|Born||Jaleel Ahmad White
November 27, 1976
Pasadena, California, USA
In 1989, he won the role of Steve Urkel on the sitcom Family Matters. The character, which was originally intended to be a one-time guest appearance, was an instant hit with audiences and White became a regular cast member. The series aired for a total of nine seasons, from 1989 to 1997 on ABC, and from 1996 to 1997 on CBS.
After Family Matters ended, White starred in the UPN series Grown Ups from 1999 to 2000. He later attended UCLA where he graduated with a degree in film and television in 2001. He has continued his acting career with roles in Dreamgirls (2006), and guest stints on Boston Legal, House, and Psych. In March 2012, White appeared as a contestant in season 14 of Dancing with the Stars. He was voted off the series in May 2012.
White was born in Pasadena, California, the only child of Dr. Michael White, a dentist, and Gail, a homemaker who later became his manager. On the advice of his preschool teacher, White began acting as a child. He got his start on TV commercials at age three. One of White's notable commercial appearances was for Jell-O pudding pops alongside Bill Cosby.
White's first television role was a guest stint on The Jeffersons, in 1984. He later auditioned for the role of Rudy Huxtable on The Cosby Show. According to White, he was cast in the role (the character was originally intended to be male) but was replaced by Keshia Knight Pulliam when Bill Cosby decided to mirror his television family after his real life family. The following year, he was cast as the son of Flip Wilson and Gladys Knight on the CBS sitcom Charlie and Company. The series was intended to be CBS' answer to the highly rating Cosby Show which debuted on NBC in 1984. Unlike The Cosby Show, Charlie and Company did not catch on with audiences and was canceled in May 1986. In 1987, he appeared in the pilot episode for Good Morning, Miss Bliss, and had a guest role on Mr. Belvedere. In 1988, White had a supporting role in Cadets, a sitcom starring Soleil Moon Frye. The pilot episode aired during a preview special on September 25, 1988 on ABC. The series, however, was not picked up by the network.
In September 1990, White had a role in the NBC television movie Camp Cucamonga. The film features an ensemble cast including Sherman Hemsley, Jennifer Aniston, and Brian Robbins. Several other child actor of the era including Chad Allen, Candace Cameron, Danica McKellar, Josh Saviano, and Breckin Meyer also appear.
At the age of 12, White originated his most famous role, Steve Urkel, on Family Matters. The role was initially conceived as a one-time guest appearance, but the character proved to be popular and White was given a full-time starring role. He also played several other members of the Urkel family, including his alter ego Stefan Urquelle and Myrtle Urkel. During the height of Family Matters' popularity, the character of Urkel was marketed with breakfast cereal (Urkel-Os) and a doll. In addition to starring in the series, White also wrote several episodes, including one, at age 19, that was the series' highest rated for that year. The series was a staple of ABC's TGIF lineup and would go to become one of the longest-running sitcoms with a predominately African American cast in television history.
By the time the series was cancelled in 1998, White, who was then 22 years old, had grown tired of the role. Shortly after the series' cancellation, he stated in a 1999 interview, "If you ever see me do that character again, take me out and put a bullet in my head and put me out of my misery." Due to the character's popularity, White was so tightly defined by his Urkel character that he encountered difficulty finding other roles.
In later years, White came to terms with the character. In a 2011 interview with Vanity Fair, he addressed the 1999 "bullet" quote stating, "It’s one of those things that it’s very unfortunate how quotes are taken out of context. I remember that interview very vividly. I loved playing those characters [...] But the fact is that I was maturing. [...] To be honest, I was retarding my own growth as a man in order to maintain the authenticity to what I thought that character should be." When asked if he would ever reprise the Steve Urkel role, White said, "I’ll always say never say never; I’m a pretty creative person. I can’t envision how I could do it in a way that would be irreverent and fun for both me and the viewing audience..."
Post-Family Matters career
In 1999, White returned to television in the UPN sitcom Grown Ups. The series was based around White as a young man striking out into adulthood. He also co-produced and wrote some episodes for the show, in which he starred as "J", a college graduate struggling to establish his role in life as an adult. The pilot episode featured another former child actor, Soleil Moon Frye, known for her role as Punky Brewster, as the girl whom he chose as a roommate. The show received poor reviews from critics but debuted in second place in the ratings upon its premiere. However, ratings soon dropped and UPN canceled the series after one season.
White's acting roles have not been restricted to sitcoms, however; he has done voice work for several animated projects including the 1998 film Quest for Camelot. In 1999, he provided the voice for a teenaged Martin Luther King, Jr., in Our Friend, Martin.
He was also the voice of the famed video game character Sonic the Hedgehog in all of the American produced TV shows: Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Sonic Underground (he also voiced Sonic's brother and sister, Manic and Sonia, respectively), as well as a Christmas special called "Sonic Christmas Blast". White reprised the role again in the 2013 fan made film called, simply, "Sonic." The film garnered over one million views on YouTube only a week after its online debut.
In 2001, White graduated from UCLA with a degree in film and television. He has continued acting and has had small parts in the films Big Fat Liar and Dreamgirls, and was featured as the lead role in the comedy Who Made the Potatoe Salad? in 2006. In 2007, he guest-starred on the CW series The Game, followed by a role as a law school graduate interviewing for a job at Crane, Poole and Schmidt in the ABC legal drama Boston Legal.
In June 2009, White began appearing in the web series Road to the Altar. In the series, White stars as Simon, a 30-something black man marrying a young Jewish girl named Rochelle. In September 2009, White guest starred on the USA Network series Psych, as an estranged college singing buddy of the character Gus.
In June 2010, White starred in the web series Fake It Till You Make It. He also serves as writer and producer of the series. The series follows the exploits of a former child star (White) turned image consultant and his three protégés as they hustle to navigate Hollywood.
In March 2011, White guest starred on the TBS sitcom Are We There Yet?, which reunited him with fellow Family Matters cast member Telma Hopkins. Later that same year, White appeared as the star in Cee-Lo Green's music video for his song "Cry Baby".
In October 2011, White appeared in the season 8 premiere of House, titled "Twenty Vicodin", where he appears as a well-connected inmate, occasionally helping Hugh Laurie's character Gregory House to sneak contraband into the prison. In April 2012, White began hosting the Syfy game show Total Blackout.
Dancing with the Stars
|1998||Quest for Camelot||Bladebeak||Voice role|
|1999||Our Friend, Martin||Martin at age 15||Direct-to-video release|
|2002||Big Fat Liar||Himself||Uncredited|
|2006||Miracle Dogs Too||Leo||Direct-to-video release|
|2006||Puff, Puff, Pass||Tenant #2|
|2006||Who Made the Potatoe Salad?||Michael|
|2008||Green Flash||Jason Bootie||Direct-to-DVD release
Alternative title: Beach Kings
|2009||Call of the Wild||Dr. Spencer|
|2009||Road to the Altar||Simon Fox|
|2010||Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus||Dr. McCormick||Direct-to-DVD release|
|2011||Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer||Mr. Todd|
|2012||Rhymes with Banana||J|
|2013||Guardians of Luna||Kahn||Voice role|
|2013||Sonic||Sonic||Voice role, Fan film|
|1984||The Jeffersons||Van Van Morris||Episode: "Ebony and Ivory"|
|1984||Silence of the Heart||Hanry||Television movie
|1985||Kids Don't Tell||Christofer||Television movie|
|1985||Charlie & Co.||Robert Richmond||18 episodes|
|1986||The Disney Sunday Movie||Jake||Episode: "The Leftovers"|
|1987||Mr. Belvedere||Ernie Masters||Episode: "Jobless"|
|1987||Good Morning, Miss Bliss||Bobby Wilson||Episode: Pilot|
|1987||Jay Leno's Family Comedy Hour||Television special|
|1988||Cadets||Cadet Nicholls||Unsold pilot|
|1989–1998||Family Matters||Steve Urkel
Various Urkel family members
|1990||Camp Cucamonga||Dennis Brooks||Television movie|
|1991||Full House||Steve Urkel||Episode: "Stephanie Gets Framed"|
|1991||Step by Step||Steve Urkel||Episode: "The Dance"|
|1993||Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog||Sonic the Hedgehog (voice)||65 episodes|
|1993–1994||Sonic the Hedgehog||Sonic the Hedgehog (voice)||26 episodes|
|1995||The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air||Derek||Episode: "Not with My Cousin You Don't"|
|1996||Sonic Christmas Blast!||Sonic the Hedgehog (Voice)||Television special|
|1991||Step by Step||Crew Member/Steve Urkel||Episode: "A Star is Born"
|1997||Meego||Steve Urkel||2 episodes|
|1999-2000||Grown Ups||J. Calvin Frazier||22 episodes|
|1999-2000||Sonic Underground||Sonic, Manic, & Sonia (voices)||40 episodes|
|2003||111 Gramercy Park||BJ Brown||Unsold pilot|
|2005||Half & Half||Hershel||Episode: "The Big State of the Reunion Episode"|
|2007||The Game||Chris||Episode: "The Big Chill"|
|2007||Boston Legal||Kevin Givens||Episode: "Guise 'n Dolls"|
|2010||Fake It Till You Make It||Reggie Culkin||8 episodes
|2011||The Problem Solverz||K-999 (voice)||2 episodes|
|2011||Are We There Yet?||Ray Savage||Episode: "The Nick Gets Jealous Episode"|
|2011||House||Portland||Episode: "Twenty Vicodin"|
|2011||Love That Girl!||Director||Episode: "Director's Cut"|
|2012||NCIS||Martin||Episode: "A Desperate Man"|
|2012||SuperF*ckers||Percy / Omnizod (Voice)||Web series|
|2013||Guardians of Luna||Kahn (Voice)|
Awards and nominations
|Year||Award||Category||Title of work||Result|
|1985||Young Artist Award||Best Young Actor - Guest in a Television Series||The Jeffersons||Nominated|
|1986||Young Artist Award||Best Young Supporting Actor in a New Television Series||Charlie & Co.||Nominated|
|1991||Young Artist Award||Outstanding Young Comedian in a Television Series||Family Matters||Won|
|1994||NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Youth Actor/Actress||Family Matters||Won|
|1995||NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Youth Actor/Actress||Family Matters||Won|
|1996||NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||Family Matters||Nominated|
|1997||NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||Family Matters||Won|
|1996||Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite Television Actor||Family Matters||Nominated|
- Laufenberg, Norbert B. (2005). Entertainment Celebrities. Trafford Publishing. p. 697. ISBN 1-4120-5335-8.
- Braxton, Greg (June 18, 2010). "Jaleel White fondly recalls playing Urkel on 'Family Matters'". LA Times. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
- Parish Perkins, Ken (February 22, 1992). "The Face is familiar but Urkel's just part of Jaleel White". The Dallas Morning News.
- Cutler, Jacqueline (August 21, 1999). "Jaleel White graduates to life among the 'Grown Ups'". The Rochester Sentinel. p. 5. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
- Ryan, Mike (June 14, 2011). "Q&A: Jaleel White on His 31-Year Career". vanityfair.com. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
- "Blacks on TV: Tuning in to the New Season". Ebony (Johnson Publishing Company) 40 (12): 68–69. October 1985. ISSN 0012-9011.
- "CBS Yanks 'Charlie & Co.', 'Trapper' In New Season". Jet (Johnson Publishing Company) 70 (10): 61. May 26, 1986. ISSN 0021-5996.
- Burlingame, Jon. "Sunday Highlights". The Modesto Bee (September 24, 1988). pp. A–10. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
- "Family Matters: 1989-1998". People. June 26, 2000. Retrieved October 11, 2008.
- Rhudy, Ben (November 12, 2006). "M&C Exclusive Interview: Jaleel White talks "Who Made the Potatoe Salad?"". monstersandcritics.com. Retrieved October 11, 2008.
- Gay, Verne (July 9, 1998). "Off Camera - Dissing `Family' Goodbye / CBS buries finale of show it grabbed and dropped". Newsday. p. B35.
- Noxon, Christopher (August 22, 1999). "Jaleel White ('Don't Call Me Urkel') Grows Up". The New York Times. Retrieved October 11, 2008.
- Tucker, Ken (September 10, 1999). "Mo' and More". ew.com. Retrieved October 11, 2008.
- "Jaleel's 'Grown Ups' Premiere Brings White-hot Ratings For Upn". August 5, 1999. nydailynews.com. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
- Bianculli, David (June 7, 2000). "Share on emailShare on printShare on redditMore Sharing Services First Curse: Another One Bites The Dust". nydailynews.com. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
- "Star Graduate". Jet. July 9, 2001. Retrieved October 11, 2008.
- "Jaleel White: From Urkel to the 'Altar'!". etonline.com. June 19, 2009. Retrieved July 2, 2009.[dead link]
- Tambay. "Steve Urkel Returns With A Web Series Called "Fake It Till You Make It!"". Retrieved 10 June 2010.
- "New Web-series Fake It Til You Make It From Jaleel White". Retrieved June 10, 2010.
- Schwartz, Alison (August 29, 2011). "Cee Lo Green's 'Cry Baby' Stunt Double: Jaleel White" (in English). people.com. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
- "House Goes to Jail with Steve Urkel". Running Lip. Mersion Media. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
- Shen, Maxine (April 25, 2012). "'Total Blackout' host Jaleel White on why you should be scared of the dark: a Q&A (also 'Psych' and 'DWTS')". nypost.com. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
- "Dancing with the Stars Cast Announced". Retrieved February 28, 2012.
- Parsley, Aaron (March 19, 2012). "Dancing with the Stars Returns with a Vengeance". people.com. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- Shira, Dahvi (May 1, 2012). "Dancing with the Stars: Jaleel White Heads Home". people.com. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
- Schwartz, Alison; Triggs, Charlotte (April 6, 2012). "Jaleel White Didn't Know About His 'Jerkel' Nickname". people.com. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
- Fleeman, Mike (March 29, 2012). "Jaleel White Speaks Out About Ex-Girlfriend's Abuse Allegations". people.com. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Jaleel White|
- Official website
- Jaleel White at the Internet Movie Database
- Jaleel White's NBA blog
- Sonic 2013 IMDB page