Jaleel White

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Jaleel H. White

White in December 2010
Born Jaleel Ahmad White
(1977-11-27) November 27, 1977 (age 34)
Pasadena, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor, Screenwriter
Years active 1984 — present

Jaleel Ahmad White (born November 27, 1977) is an American actor and screenwriter. He is best known for his role as Steven Urkel from Family Matters[1] and voicing the character of Sonic the Hedgehog and other characters for Sonic the Hedgehog media.



[edit] Early life

White was born in Pasadena, California, the son of Michael White, a dentist, and Gail, a manager.[2] White got his start on TV commercials at age three with Kellogg's after his preschool teacher persuaded his reluctant parents to take him to auditions.

[edit] Career

White landed his first television role as the son of Flip Wilson and Gladys Knight on the CBS series Charlie and Company. He next appeared on another CBS comedy series, The Jeffersons. White also appeared in the pilot episode for Good Morning, Miss Bliss in 1987, and had a role in the 1990 television movie Camp Cucamonga, which also featured Chad Allen (My Two Dads), Candace Cameron (Full House), Danica McKellar and Josh Saviano (The Wonder Years), Breckin Meyer and Jennifer Aniston.

[edit] Family Matters

At the age of 12, shortly after starring in a TV commercial for the Atari Lynx portable video game system, 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.[3] 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.[2][4]

When the series was cancelled in 1998 after nine years, White had grown tired of the role. Shortly after the series' cancellation, he stated in an 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."[5] Due to the character's popularity, White was so tightly defined by his Urkel character that it became hard for him to get other roles.

[edit] 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 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.[6] The series failed to attract viewers and was canceled 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.

In 2001, White graduated from UCLA with a degree in film and television.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9] The series follows the exploits of a former child star (White) turned image consultant and his three protégés as they hustle to navigate Hollywood.[10]

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".

White also 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.[11]

White appears in episode 13 of season 9 of NCIS as a young man looking to purchase a building or area of a building.

White will appear in season 14 of Dancing with the Stars where he will be partnered with two-time dance champ Kym Johnson.[12]

[edit] Selected filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1984 The Jeffersons Van Van Morris Episode: "Ebony and Ivory"
1984 Silence of the Heart Hanry Television movie
1985 Charlie & Co. Robert Richmond 18 episodes
1986 The Leftovers Jake Television movie
1987 Mr. Belvedere Ernie Masters Episode: "Jobless"
1987 Good Morning, Miss Bliss Bobby Wilson Episode: Pilot
1989–1998 Family Matters Steve Urkel
Stefan Urquelle
Myrtle Urkel
Bruce Lee Urkel
204 episodes
1990 Camp Cucamonga Dennis Brooks Television movie
1991 Full House Steve Urkel Episode: "Stephanie Gets Framed"
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"
1997 Meego Steve Urkel Episode: "Love and Money"
1998 Quest for Camelot Bladebeak
1999–2000 Grown Ups J. Calvin Frazier 22 episodes
1999–2000 Sonic Underground Sonic, Manic, & Sonia (voices) 40 episodes
2002 Big Fat Liar Himself Uncredited
2005 Half & Half Hershel Episode: "The Big State of the Reunion Episode"
2006 Miracle Dogs Too Leo
2006 Puff, Puff, Pass Tenant #2 Uncredited
2006 Who Made the Potatoe Salad? Michael
2006 Dreamgirls Talent Booker
2007 The Game Chris Episode: "The Big Chill"
2007 Boston Legal Kevin Givens Episode: "Guise 'n Dolls"
2008 Kissing Cousins Antwone
2008 Green Flash Jason Bootie Direct-to-DVD release
Alternative title: Beach Kings
2009 Call of the Wild Dr. Spencer
2009 Psych Tony Episode: "High Top Fade Out"
2010 Fake It Till You Make It Reggie Culkin 10 episodes
2010 Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus Dr. McCormick
2011 The Problem Solverz K-999 (voice) 2 episodes
2011 Are We There Yet? Ray Savage Episode: "The Nick Gets Jealous Episode"
2011 Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer Mr. Todd
2011 House Portland Episode: "Twenty Vicodin"
2012 Guardians of Luna Kahn (voice) Direct-to-DVD release
2012 NCIS Martin Episode: "A Desperate Man"

[edit] Awards and nominations

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

[edit] References

  1. ^ Braxton, Greg (2010-06-18). "Jaleel White fondly recalls playing Urkel on 'Family Matters'". LA Times. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jun/18/entertainment/la-et-urkel-20100618. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  2. ^ a b Jaleel White Biography (1977)
  3. ^ "Family Matters: 1989-1998". People. 2000-06-26. http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20131627,00.html. Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
  4. ^ Rhudy, Ben (2006-11-12). "M&C Exclusive Interview: Jaleel White talks "Who Made the Potatoe Salad?"". monstersandcritics.com. http://www.monstersandcritics.com/dvd/features/article_1221104.php/M&C_Exclusive_Interview_Jaleel_White_talks_%93Who_Made_the_Potatoe_Salad%94. Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
  5. ^ Noxon, Christopher (1999-08-22). "Jaleel White ('Don't Call Me Urkel') Grows Up". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9901E3D61739F931A1575BC0A96F958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all. Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
  6. ^ Tucker, Ken (1999-09-10). "Mo' and More". ew.com. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,270659,00.html. Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
  7. ^ "Star Graduate". Jet. 2001-07-09. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_4_100/ai_76513102?tag=content;col1. Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
  8. ^ "Jaleel White: From Urkel to the 'Altar'!". etonline.com. 2009-06-19. http://www.etonline.com/news/2009/06/73336/index.html. Retrieved 2009-07-02. [dead link]
  9. ^ Tambay. "Steve Urkel Returns With A Web Series Called "Fake It Till You Make It!"". http://www.shadowandact.com/?p=25053. Retrieved 10 June 2010. 
  10. ^ "New Web-series Fake It Til You Make It From Jaleel White". http://www.nerdsociety.com/2010/06/01/new-web-series-fake-it-til-you-make-it-from-jaleel-white/. Retrieved 10 June 2010. 
  11. ^ "House Goes to Jail with Steve Urkel". Running Lip. Mersion Media. http://runninglip.com/tv/2011/09/dr-house-goes-to-jail-with-steve-urkel/. Retrieved 3 September 2011. 
  12. ^ "Dancing with the Stars Cast Announced". http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20574087,00.html. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 

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