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Al Roker

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Al Roker
Al Roker October 2014 (cropped).jpg
Roker in October 2014
Born
Albert Lincoln Roker Jr.

(1954-08-20) August 20, 1954 (age 66)
Alma mater
Occupation
  • Journalist for NBC News
  • television personality
  • weather forecaster
  • actor
  • author
Years active1974–present
Spouse(s)
  • Name not disclosed (divorced)
Alice Bell
(m. 1984, divorced)
(m. 1995)
Children3
Relatives
WebsiteAlRoker.com

Albert Lincoln Roker Jr.[1] (born August 20, 1954)[1] is an American weather forecaster, journalist, television personality, actor, and author. He is the current weather anchor on NBC's Today.[2] Roker also serves as co-host on 3rd Hour Today, although the latter was not officially announced by NBC News. He has an inactive American Meteorological Society Television Seal #238.[3]

On November 12, 2014, at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Roker attempted to beat the unofficial world record for an uninterrupted live weather report of 33 hours held by Norwegian weather broadcaster Eli Kari Gjengedal. On November 14, 2014, at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, Roker set the Guinness World Record by reporting for 34 hours.[4]

On the December 14, 2018 episode of Today, Roker was honored for 40 years at NBC. The Today Plaza was officially named the "Rokerfeller Plaza" in his honor.

Early life[edit]

Al Roker was born in the borough of Queens, New York City, New York,[1] the son of Isabel, of Jamaican descent, and Albert Lincoln Roker Sr.,[5] a bus driver of Bahamian descent.[6] Roker initially wanted to be a cartoonist.[5] He was raised Catholic,[5] the faith of his mother, and graduated from Xavier High School in Manhattan.[7] He attended the State University of New York at Oswego where he received a B.A. in communications in 1976.[1]

Roker is related to the late actress Roxie Roker, who played Helen Willis on the sitcom The Jeffersons and was the mother of rock musician Lenny Kravitz. Al Roker and Kravitz's grandfathers were cousins, which in turn makes Al Roker and Kravitz third cousins, as they share the same great, great grandparents.[8][9][10][dubious ]

Career[edit]

Roker outside the Pentagon

Early career (1974–95)[edit]

Roker worked as a weather anchor for CBS affiliate WHEN-TV (now WTVH) in Syracuse, New York from 1974 until 1976, while he was enrolled at SUNY Oswego. During his time in Oswego, he also DJ'd at the campus radio station, WNYO.[11] Following the completion of his 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 in Cleveland, then an NBC owned-and-operated station. After five 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 weathercaster, 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 over 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, Bryant Gumbel and 1997 through 2000's for Matt Lauer on the Today Show. In 1995, he became the host of The Al Roker Show,[12] a weekend talk show on CNBC.

Roker received wider exposure when David Letterman asked him to join in an elevator race on an episode of the talk show Late Night with David Letterman, which taped across the hall from the WNBC news studio in the GE Building. This led to Roker becoming the forecaster for Weekend Today.[6] He also substituted on the weekday edition of Today[6] when Willard Scott was ill or away.

Full time on the Today show (1996–present)[edit]

In early 1996, Scott announced his semi-retirement from Today. On January 26, 1996, Roker received the regular weekday weather slot. Roker's studio remote forecasts, interviewing visitors outside and giving them some camera time, became a staple. Roker conducted more interviews and segments on the show over time.

In 2005, Roker reported from inside Hurricane Wilma.[13] A popular viral video shows him swept off his feet by the fierce wind and clinging to the cameraman.[13]

In addition to his role as Today Show weather man and anchor, Roker co-hosted the third hour of Today called Today's Take, beginning November 12, 2012. Today's Take was cancelled in February 2017 for Megyn Kelly Today and aired its final episode on September 22, 2017. After Megyn Kelly Today was cancelled in 2018, Roker returned to co-host 3rd Hour Today.

"Roker-thon"[edit]

In November 2014, Roker embarked on a "Roker-thon", in which he did a non-stop, 34-hour weather forecast on NBC, from 10:05 p.m. on November 12, 2014 until about 8:00 a.m. on November 14, 2014. The record-setting event was a fundraiser for the Crowdrise Campaign to benefit the military and USO. He held a "Roker-thon 2", this time reporting weather from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. during the week from November 6 to November 13, 2015, in support of Feeding America.[14][15] From March 27 until March 31, 2017, he embarked on "Roker-thon 3", visiting colleges and setting a Guinness World Record at each one, such as the longest conga line on ice and largest human letter.[16]

In the 2013 inauguration, Roker received a handshake from Biden. [17] As an NBC News reporter at the 2021 inauguration of Joe Biden, Roker received a fist bump from the newly inaugurated president moments before Biden entered the White House.[18]

Other work[edit]

Roker has hosted NBC's coverage of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade since 1995, where he provides commentary along with some of his Today Show colleagues.

Roker is a game show fan. From 1996–1997, he hosted a game show on MSNBC called Remember This?.[12] He substituted for Meredith Vieira for a week of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire shows from March 5–9, 2007.[19]

In 2008, Roker hosted NBC's Celebrity Family Feud.[20] He hosted a week-long feature on Today profiling five game shows and their hosts in July 2016 titled "Game On Today". He has appeared as a celebrity player on both Merv Griffin game shows Jeopardy![21] and Wheel of Fortune.[21]

Roker has hosted programs on Food Network,[22] namely, Roker on the Road,[22] and Tricked-Out Tailgating. He is also an avid barbecue enthusiast.[20]

Roker provided forecasts 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), through a service called the "Al Roker Radio Weather Network", distributed by United Stations Radio Networks. It has since been replaced by Accuweather.[23] He also had a one and a half hour weekday morning stint live from 5:00–7:00 a.m. on The Weather Channel under the name Wake Up with Al which aired from 2009 until 2015.

It was announced on September 5, 2018 that Roker will portray Joe in the Broadway musical Waitress for a six-week run from October 5 to November 11.[24]

Author[edit]

Roker at the 81st Academy Awards in February 2009

Writing with Dick Lochte, Roker co-authored a series of murder mysteries beginning 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.[25] The Morning Show Murders, also published in 2010, was made into the 2018 movie on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries with Holly Robinson Peete in the lead role.[26]

In 2016, the non-fiction book Been There, Done That: Family Wisdom for Modern Times, written by Roker and his wife Deborah Roberts, was published.[27]

Personal life[edit]

Following an early marriage and divorce,[28] Roker married WNBC producer Alice Bell in December 1984.[29] They later divorced.[28] Roker married fellow journalist Deborah Roberts on September 16, 1995.[28] who has reported for both ABC[30] and NBC.[30]

Roker has three children. He and Bell adopted daughter Courtney as an infant in 1987.[31] With Roberts, Roker is the father of daughter Leila (born November 17, 1998)[32] and son Nicholas (born July 18, 2002).[33]

On November 7, 2010, Roker ran in the ING New York City Marathon.[34][35]

Roker is an honorary member of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.[36]

Health[edit]

Roker with members of the United States Navy, 2000

On Thursday, June 7, 2001, Roker underwent a total knee arthoplasty (replacement, or "TKA") on his left knee.[37]

In 2002,[38] Roker underwent gastric bypass surgery to lose weight, which he said he did after failing at numerous diets. Eight months after the surgery, the New York Daily News reported he had dropped 100 pounds (45 kg) from his 320 lb (150 kg) figure.[39] Roker wrote about his battle with weight loss in Never Goin' Back: Winning the Weight Loss Battle For Good, published in 2013.[40]

In 2005, he had a back operation.[41] He had another knee replacement surgery in 2016.[42]

In October 2018, Roker underwent emergency carpal tunnel surgery.[43]

In September 2019, he had a hip replacement surgery.

In November 2020, he revealed he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in September 2020.[44] He had a successful operation on November 9,[45] and by November 17 he was at home recovering.[46]

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.[47] He also served as the official spokesperson for Amtrak's National Train Day, which took place on May 10, 2008.[48]

Controversy[edit]

2012 Olympic logo controversy[edit]

"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"[49]

— Al Roker, June 7, 2007, describing the reaction to the logo for 2012 Summer Olympics

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."[49]

Cab driver[edit]

On November 23, 2015, Roker alleged racial discrimination and filed a complaint after he and his son attempted to hail a cab. The cab driver reportedly then passed them in order to pick up a white man on the next block. Roker stated on Twitter that a "cabbie picked up a white guy a block away. Wonder why Uber wins?" According to the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, the driver would either have to pay a $500 fine or possibly have his license suspended.[50][51][52]

Signature phrases[edit]

  • Roker often says "and here's what's happening in your neck of the woods" when transitioning from the national weather broadcast to the local affiliate.[53]
  • On many occasions on Today he has used the phrase "man candy" to describe attractive males.[54]
  • When he mentions Sunday's weather forecast on weekdays, often he repeats the word "Sunday", imitating the drag racing promotional catchphrase.[55]
  • During Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade ribbon cutting ceremonies, he is joined by the producers of the parade and special guests in kicking off the parade with the countdown "5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Let's have a parade!"[56]

Other appearances and activities[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1990 Another World Himself Television series; one episode
1993 Seinfeld Himself Television series; one episode
1994 Reading Rainbow Himself Television series; one episode
1994 Mad About You Himself Television series; one episode
1994 Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? Himself Television series; one episode
1996 NewsRadio Guy Television series; one episode
1997 The Single Guy Dr. Benjamin Television series; one episode
1997 Men in Black Alien on TV monitor Uncredited
1998 Superman: The Animated Series Weather Forecaster (voice) Television series; one episode
1998 Quest for Camelot Knight (voice)
1998, 2007 Saturday Night Live Himself Television series; two episodes
1999 Space Ghost Coast to Coast Himself Television series; one episode
2000 Will & Grace Himself Television series; one episode
2001 Sesame Street Himself Television series; one episode
2003 Freedom: A History of Us Christian reorder editor
Henry McNeal Turner
Television miniseries
2003-2004 The Proud Family Faustian Al Roker (voice) Television series; two episodes
2003 Wholey Moses Weather Forecaster (voice) Short film
2003 Cyberchase Sam Vander Rom (voice) Television series; three episodes
2005 Robots Mailbox (voice)
2005 Madagascar Newscaster #3 (voice)
2006 Unaccompanied Minors Himself
2007, 2012 30 Rock Himself Television series; two episodes
2008 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa Newscaster (voice)
2009 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Patrick Patrickson (voice)
2011 WordGirl Sonny Days (voice) Television series; one episode
2011 The Big Year New York Weather Forecaster
2012 The Pirates! Band of Misfits! The Pirate Who Likes Sunsets and Kittens (voice) United States release only
2012–2013 The Penguins of Madagascar Gil Force (voice)
2012 Treme Himself Television series; one episode
2012 The Simpsons Himself (voice) Episode: “Moonshine River”
2013 The Michael J. Fox Show Himself Television series; one episode
2013 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 Patrick Patrickson (voice)
2014 Sharknado 2: The Second One Himself Television film
2015 Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special Himself Television special
2015 Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! Himself Television film
2016 Kung Fu Panda 3 Dim (voice)
2016 Ghostbusters Himself Cameo
2016 Sharknado: The 4th Awakens Himself Television film
2017 WWE WrestleMania 33 Himself Pay-Per View, Guest Ring Announcer
2017 Sharknado 5: Global Swarming Himself Television film
2018 The Last Sharknado: It's About Time Himself Television film[60]
2018 Morning Show Mysteries: Mortal Mishaps Himself Television film
2019 Zombieland: Double Tap Himself
2020 The Blacklist Himself Episode: "Roy Cain"[61]

Works[edit]

  • 2000: Don't Make Me Stop This Car! reflections on fatherhood ISBN 9780684868936
  • 2013: Never Goin' Back: Winning the Weight-Loss Battle For Good ISBN 978-0-451-41493-9
  • 2016: Been There, Done That: Family Wisdom for Modern Times co-written with his wife Deborah Roberts. ISBN 978-0-451-46636-5

Billy Blessing novels

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Al Roker Biography: News Anchor, Television Producer, Television Personality (1954–)". Biography.com. Archived from the original on October 9, 2018. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  2. ^ "Al Roker – TODAY.com". Today. June 23, 2010. Archived from the original on May 19, 2011. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  3. ^ Lee, Brad. "AMS Television Seal Holders". apps.ametsoc.org. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  4. ^ "Watch #Rokerthon live: Al attempts World Record for longest weather report" Retrieved November 13, 2014
  5. ^ a b c "Al Roker Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Movies.yahoo.com. Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  6. ^ a b c "Al Roker Biography (1954–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  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. ^ "Al, Lenny Kravitz discuss being distant cousins". Today. September 2, 2011. Archived from the original on November 8, 2020. Retrieved October 21, 2014. Is Al really related to Lenny Kravitz? Yes! Their grandfathers were cousins, Al said on 'Today' this morning.
  9. ^ "Lenny Kravitz gives Arch Digest a look inside his Brazil home". Today. April 18, 2019. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  10. ^ Weisholtz, Drew (October 5, 2020). "Al Roker reunites with distant cousin Lenny Kravitz". Today.com. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  11. ^ Roker, Al (June 15, 2014). "I played AT40 at my college station WOCR 640AM SUNY Oswego 1973-1975". @alroker. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Al Roker : Chefs". Food Network. Archived from the original on April 28, 2011. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  13. ^ a b "Al Roker Blown by Hurricane Wilma". I Am Bored. May 11, 2011. Archived from the original on September 29, 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  14. ^ "Rokerthon 2 is on! Al Roker hits the road for record-breaking effort". Today. November 5, 2015.
  15. ^ "Al Roker's 50-state 'Rokerthon 2' begins". New York Daily News. November 6, 2015.
  16. ^ "Al Roker Comes to UT for Rokerthon 3". WBIR. March 28, 2017.
  17. ^ "Al Roker Was Really, Really Stoked About Shaking Hands With Joe Biden". Business Insider. January 21, 2013. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  18. ^ "Joe Biden fist-bumps Al Roker during inaugural parade". The Independent. January 20, 2021. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  19. ^ Al Roker at IMDb
  20. ^ a b "Celebrity Family Feud". NBC. Archived from the original on May 1, 2011. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  21. ^ a b "Al Roker to host 'Celebrity Family Feud'". Today. April 7, 2008. Archived from the original on April 8, 2008. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  22. ^ a b "Roker on the Road". Food Network. Archived from the original on April 22, 2011. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  23. ^ "Al Roker Radio Weather Network". Archived from the original on August 18, 2004. Retrieved February 26, 2017.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) at United Stations Radio Network
  24. ^ Hoffman, Barbara (September 5, 2018). "Al Roker headed back to Broadway with singing role in 'Waitress'". New York Post. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  25. ^ Cogdill, Oline, "The 2011 Nero Award Nominees"; Mystery Scene, June 15, 2011. Retrieved December 5, 2011
  26. ^ "Morning Show Mysteries: Murder on the Menu - Cast".
  27. ^ McClurg, Jocelyn (January 5, 2016). "Al Roker, Deborah Roberts write about their marriage". USA Today.
  28. ^ a b c "Al Roker and Deborah Roberts". The New York Times. September 17, 1995. Retrieved November 9, 2020. Deborah Ann Roberts, a correspondent in New York for the ABC news magazine '20/ 20,' was married yesterday to Albert Lincoln Roker Jr., a weatherman on the 'Today Show,' in New York. The Rev. John Andrew performed the ceremony at the St. Thomas Episcopal Church in New York. ... The bridegroom's first two marriages ended in divorce.
  29. ^ "Alice Bell is Married". The New York Times. December 23, 1984. p. 39.
  30. ^ a b "Deborah Roberts". ABC News. April 28, 2007. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  31. ^ Roker, Al (2000). Don't Make Me Stop this Car! Adventures in Fatherhood. Scribner. pp. 15, 229, 231. ISBN 978-0684868936.
  32. ^ Roker in Egan, Paige (2000). "Sunny Funny Al Roker". DadMag. Archived from the original on April 16, 2020. My maternal grandmother Leila Smith died on November 17, 1974. Leila Ruth Roker was born 24 years later on November 17, 1998.
  33. ^ Goldstein, Joelle (April 25, 2019). "Al Roker Opens Up About Raising His Teenage Son with Special Needs: 'I Admire Him'". People. Archived from the original on August 7, 2020. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  34. ^ "Race Results > Al Roker". New York Road Runners. Archived from the original on November 9, 2020. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  35. ^ Fitzgerald, Bob (October 25, 2010). "Al Roker One of 22 Celebrities Running NYC Marathon". New England Runner. Archived from the original on November 9, 2020. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  36. ^ "Honorary Members > Albert Roker Jr". Phi Beta Sigma. Archived from the original on October 5, 2019. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  37. ^ Dwyer, Sheila & Knee1 Staff (July 10, 2001). "Al Roker Returns to "Today"". Knee1.com. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
  38. ^ "The skinny on Roker's weight loss: Gastric bypass". USA Today. November 3, 2002. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
  39. ^ Connor, Tracy (November 17, 2002). "Stars put fat-fighting surgery in the spotlight". Daily News. Daily News. p. 10.
  40. ^ Roker, Al; Morton, Laura (December 31, 2012). Never Goin' Back: Winning the Weight-Loss Battle For Good. New American Library. ISBN 978-0-451-41493-9.
  41. ^ Notjustrich.com admin. "How much is Al Roker Worth?". Not Just Rich. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
  42. ^ "Inside Al Roker's road to recovery after knee replacement". Today. October 24, 2016. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  43. ^ Mazziotta, Julie (October 3, 2018). "Al Roker Is 'Feeling Great' After Undergoing Emergency Carpal Tunnel Surgery". People. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  44. ^ "Al Roker Has Prostate Cancer, Will Undergo Surgery Next Week". TMZ. Retrieved November 6, 2020.
  45. ^ Vivinetta, Gina (February 8, 2021). "Al Roker gives Kelly Clarkson update on prostate cancer diagnosis". Today. NBC Universal. Retrieved February 11, 2021. I really feel good. I was very fortunate. We caught it early. It was an aggressive form of prostate cancer, but we caught it very early.
  46. ^ Keegan, Kayla (November 17, 2020). "'Today' Show Star Al Roker Has Been Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer". Good Housekeeping. Retrieved February 11, 2021. Al has been taking some time off from the Today show after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
  47. ^ "Celebrity Friends of RMHC". McDonald's Corporation. Archived from the original on June 19, 2010.
  48. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved February 19, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  49. ^ a b Starr, Michael (June 9, 2007). "Joker Roker: 'Sorry'". New York Post. Archived from the original on June 11, 2007.
  50. ^ TMZ Staff (November 23, 2015). "Al Roker – NYC Cab Driver was Racist". TMZ. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
  51. ^ Lawson, Richard (November 23, 2015). "Al Roker Files Complaint Claiming NYC Taxi Ignored Him in Favor of White Customer". Vanity Fair. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
  52. ^ Kimble, Lindsay (November 23, 2015). "Al Roker Says an N.Y.C. Cab Passed Him to Pick Up a White Man, Files Discrimination Complaint". People. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
  53. ^ Tonya Mosley (July 29, 2020). "Al Roker Shares Life Lessons In New Memoir, 'You Look So Much Better In Person'". WBUR.org. Retrieved February 22, 2021.
  54. ^ Barrett, Liz (October 18, 2006). "Al Roker Sure Loves His "Man Candy"". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved March 2, 2007.
  55. ^ Raver, Grace; Flanagan, Graham (January 11, 2016). "Why Al Roker says 'Sunday! Sunday!' when giving his weather report". Business Insider. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  56. ^ "Entire 2016 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade". November 24, 2016. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  57. ^ "Al gets 'first interview' with President Barack Obama". Al Roker blog on MSNBC.com. January 20, 2009. Archived from the original on February 17, 2009. Retrieved March 13, 2009.
  58. ^ "Al Roker Trivia and Quotes on". Tv.com. Retrieved May 11, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  59. ^ "We salute you Al! Roker gets 'Honorary Commodore' award". NBC News. May 19, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  60. ^ Sharknado [@SharknadoSYFY] (August 19, 2018). "You've got that right, @alroker. Well, except for the repeat airing of #Sharknado6 starting right now" (Tweet). Retrieved November 1, 2019 – via Twitter.
  61. ^ "The Blacklist Is Bringing In Al Roker As A Guest Star, But How?". CINEMABLEND. April 30, 2020. Retrieved September 11, 2020.

External links[edit]