Michael Jeter

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Michael Jeter
Michael Jeter at the 44th Emmy Awards cropped.jpg
Jeter at the 44th Emmy Awards in August 1992
Robert Michael Jeter

(1952-08-26)August 26, 1952
DiedMarch 30, 2003(2003-03-30) (aged 50)
Alma materMemphis State University
Years active1979–2003
Home townMemphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Spouse(s)Sean Blue (1995–2003)

Robert Michael Jeter (August 26, 1952 – March 30, 2003) was an American character actor of film, stage, and television. His television roles included Herman Stiles on the sitcom Evening Shade from 1990 until 1994 and Mr. Noodle's brother, Mister Noodle on the Elmo's World segments of Sesame Street from 2000 until 2003. Jeter's film roles include Zelig, Tango & Cash, The Fisher King, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Waterworld, Air Bud, Patch Adams, The Green Mile, Jurassic Park III, Welcome to Collinwood, Open Range, and The Polar Express.

Early life[edit]

Jeter was born Robert Michael Jeter in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee on August 26, 1952. His mother, Virginia (née Raines; May 6, 1927 - May 21, 2019), was a housewife. His father, William Claud Jeter (March 10, 1922 – March 1, 2010), was a dentist.[1] Jeter had one brother, William, and four sisters, Virginia, Amanda, Emily, and Larie.[2] Jeter was a student at Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis) when his interests changed from medicine to acting. He performed in several plays and musicals at the Circuit Theatre and its sister theatre, the Playhouse on the Square, in midtown Memphis. He left Memphis to further pursue his stage career in Baltimore, Maryland.


Jeter's woebegone look, extreme flexibility, and high energy led Tommy Tune to cast him in the off-Broadway play Cloud 9 in 1981.[3] Much of his work specialized in playing eccentric, pretentious, or wimpy characters, as in The Fisher King, Waterworld, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Green Mile and Drop Zone. Occasionally, Jeter was able to stray away from these types of roles for more diverse characters like those he portrayed in Jurassic Park III, Air Bud, and Open Range. Jeter is perhaps most known for his role as convicted felon Eduard Delacroix in The Green Mile, a role for which he was nominated along with the rest of the cast for a Screen Actors Guild Award. He played Rudy in Patch Adams as well.

He also played Mr. Noodle's brother, Mister Noodle, on Sesame Street from 2000 to 2003. He appeared in an episode of Touched by an Angel in 1999 as Gus, an insurance salesman who arrives in Las Vegas in the episode "The Man Upstairs".[4] His last two appearances were in the films Open Range and The Polar Express. Both films were in post-production at the time of his death and, when released, contained a dedication to his memory.[5][6]


In 1990, Jeter won a Tony Award for his performance in the Broadway musical Grand Hotel.[7] He won an Emmy Award in 1992 for his role in the television sitcom Evening Shade as math teacher and assistant football coach Herman Stiles.[8] Also, Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama Desk Award, and the Clarence Derwent Prize.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Jeter was openly gay and met his partner, Sean Blue, in 1995; they were together from 1995 until Jeter's death in 2003.[10]


On March 30, 2003, Jeter was found dead in his Hollywood home at the age of 50.[11] Although he was HIV positive, he had been in good health for many years.[12] His partner said Jeter died of complications after an epileptic seizure.[13]



Year Title Role
1979 Hair Woodrow Sheldon
1981 Ragtime Special Reporter
1982 Soup for One Mr. Kelp
1983 Zelig Freshman #2
1986 The Money Pit Arnie
1989 Dead Bang Dr. Alexander Krantz
Tango & Cash Floyd Skinner
1990 Just Like in the Movies Vernon
Miller's Crossing Adolph
1991 The Fisher King Homeless Cabaret Singer
1993 Bank Robber Night Clerk #1
Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit Ft. Ignatius
1994 Drop Zone Earl Leedy
1995 Waterworld Old Gregor
1997 Air Bud Norm Snively
Mouse Hunt Quincy Thorpe
1998 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Dr. Ron Bumquist
The Naked Man Sticks Varona
Thursday Dr. Jarvis
Zack and Reba Oras
Patch Adams Rudy
1999 True Crime Dale Porterhouse
Jakob the Liar Avron
The Green Mile Eduard Delacroix
2000 South of Heaven, West of Hell Uncle Jude
The Gift Gerald Weems
2001 Jurassic Park III Udesky
2002 Welcome to Collinwood Toto
2003 Open Range Percy
2004 The Polar Express Smokey / Steamer


Year Title Role Notes
1979 My Old Man George Gardner Television movie
1980 Another World Arnie Gallo Unknown episodes
From Here to Eternity Pvt. Ridgley Unknown episodes
Lou Grant Max Galt Episode: "Dogs"
1981 Alice at the Palace Caterpillar / Dormouse Television movie
1986 Night Court Confessing Crook Episode: "The Night Off"
1987 Designing Women Calvin Klein Episode: "Old Spouses Never Die – Part 1"
1988 Crime Story Senator Michael Gaspari Episode: "The Hearings"
Hothouse Dr. Art Makter 7 episodes
1990–1994 Evening Shade Herman Stiles 98 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Comedy Series (1991–93)
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (1991, 1993)
1993–1995 Picket Fences Peter Lebeck 3 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
1993 Tales of the City Carson Callas 3 episodes
Gypsy Goldstone Television movie
1994 Aladdin Runtar (voice) Episode: "StinkerBelle"
1995 Chicago Hope Bob Ryan Episode: "A Coupla Stiffs"
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
1996 Dream On Dr. Enoch Episode: "Finale with a Vengeance"
Suddenly Susan Lawrence Rosewood Episode: "Dr. No"
Mrs. Santa Claus Arvo Television movie
The Boys Next Door Arnold Wiggins Television movie
1997 Duckman Dr. William Blay (voice) Episode: "Ajax & Ajaxer"
Second Noah The Chicken Man Episode: "Diving In"
Murphy Brown Vic Episode: "You Don't Know Jackal"
Johnny Bravo Lawrence the Camel (voice) Episode: "Blarney Buddies/Over the Hump/Johnny Meets Farrah Fawcett"
1998–1999 The Wild Thornberrys Biederman (voice) 4 episodes
1998 Veronica's Closet Edwin Murloff Episode: "Veronica's Blackout"
The Ransom of Red Chief Bill Driscoll Television movie
1999 Touched by an Angel Gus Zimmerman Episode: "The Man Upstairs"
2000–2003 Sesame Street Mr. Noodle's brother, Mister Noodle Elmo's World segments
2002 Taken William Jeffries Episode: "Taken"
Hey Arnold! Nate Horowitz (voice) Episode: "Gerald's Game/The Fishing Trip"

Theater work[edit]


  1. ^ "William Claude Jeter (1943)". University of Tennessee. 10 March 2010. Archived from the original on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  2. ^ "Michael Jeter, 50, Dies; Won Acting Prizes". The New York Times. NYTimes.com. 2 April 2003. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  3. ^ "Cloud 9". Lortel Archives. Archived from the original on 2014-02-28. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  4. ^ "Touched By An Angel Episode 516: "The Man Upstairs"". Touched.com. 1999-02-21. Archived from the original on 2012-12-03. Retrieved 2013-02-23.
  5. ^ Rooney, David (24 October 2004). "Review: 'The Polar Express'". Variety. variety.com. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  6. ^ Open Range film credits.
  7. ^ "Michael Jeter: Biography". MSN Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  8. ^ "'Sesame Street' actor Michael Jeter dies". United Press International, Inc. Los Angeles. 1 April 2003. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  9. ^ Michael Jeter, 50; 'Mr. Noodle' on Sesame Street by Myrna Oliver, Times Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, April 1, 2003.
  10. ^ Ferber, Lawrence (May 13, 2003). "In memoriam. Michael Jeter". The Advocate. Here Publishing (889): 62. ISSN 0001-8996.
  11. ^ Cosgrove-Mather, Bootie (August 31, 2004). "Actor Michael Jeter Dead At 52". CBS News. CBSnews.com. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  12. ^ The New York Times (6 December 1999). "Healthy Despite His Hiv, Jeter Says It's Nothing To Hide". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  13. ^ "Corrections". The Advocate. 17 September 2004. p. 6. Retrieved 2014-02-28.

External links[edit]