Al Roker

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Al Roker
Al Roker crop.jpg
Roker in July 2012
BornAlbert Lincoln Roker, Jr.
(1954-08-20) August 20, 1954 (age 59)
Queens, New York, U.S.
Alma materState University of New York at Oswego (B.A. Communications, 1976)
OccupationTV weather forecaster, actor, author
Years active1974–present
Spouse(s)Deborah Roberts (since 1995)
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Al Roker
Al Roker crop.jpg
Roker in July 2012
BornAlbert Lincoln Roker, Jr.
(1954-08-20) August 20, 1954 (age 59)
Queens, New York, U.S.
Alma materState University of New York at Oswego (B.A. Communications, 1976)
OccupationTV weather forecaster, actor, author
Years active1974–present
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.[1] On Monday, July 20, 2009, he began co-hosting his morning show, Wake Up with Al,[2] on The Weather Channel,[2] 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.[citation needed] 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.[3]

Early life[edit]

Al Roker was born in Queens, New York,[4] the son of Isabel, of Jamaican descent, and Albert Lincoln Roker, Sr.,[5] a labor relations negotiator, bus driver and dispatcher, of Bahamian descent.[6] Roker initially wanted to be a cartoonist.[5] He was raised Catholic[5] (in the faith of his mother) and graduated from Xavier High School in Manhattan.[7] 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.[8]


Roker outside the Pentagon.

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,[9] a weekend talk show on CNBC. In 1996–1997, he hosted a game show on MSNBC called Remember This?.[9]

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.[6] He also substituted on the weekday edition of Today[6] 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.[10] 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.[10]

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![11] and Wheel of Fortune.[11] In 2008, Roker hosted NBC's Celebrity Family Feud.[12] Roker also substituted Meredith Vieira for a week of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire shows on March 5–9, 2007.[13] Roker also hosted the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Roker also hosts various programs on Food Network,[14] namely, Roker on the Road,[14] and, Tricked-Out Tailgating. He is also the author of several non-fiction books, and an avid barbecue enthusiast.[12]

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.[15] 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.

Personal life[edit]

Roker at the 81st Academy Awards in February 2009

Roker's wife, his third, is fellow journalist Deborah Roberts,[16] who has reported for both ABC[16] and NBC,[16] meeting Roker when she joined the latter in 1990 as a reporter. Roker has three children.

On November 7, 2010, he ran in the ING New York City Marathon.

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.

Health problems[edit]

In 2002,[17] 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.[18] On Thursday, June 7, Roker underwent a total knee arthoplasty (replacement, or "TKA") on his left knee. In 2005, Roker had a back operation.

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.[19] He also served as the official spokesperson for Amtrak's National Train Day, which took place on May 10, 2008.[20]

Olympic logo controversy[edit]

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.[21]

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."[21]

Signature phrases[edit]

Other appearances and activities[edit]


1990Another WorldHimselfOne episode
1993SeinfeldHimselfThe Cigar Store Indian
1994Reading RainbowHimselfOne episode
1994Mad About YouHimselfOne episode
1996NewsRadioGuyOne episode
1997The Single GuyDr. BenjaminOne episode
Men in BlackAlien on TV monitorFilm; uncredited
1998Superman: The Animated SeriesWeather ForecasterVoice; one episode
1998Quest for CamelotKnightFilm; voice
1998, 2007Saturday Night LiveHimselfTwo episodes
1999Space Ghost Coast to CoastHimselfOne episode
2000Will & GraceHimselfOne episode
2001Sesame StreetHimselfOne episode
2003Freedom: A History of UsChristian reorder editor
Henry McNeal Turner
TV miniseries
2003, 2004The Proud FamilyFaustian Al RokerVoice; two episodes
2003Wholey MosesWeather ForecasterShort film; voice
CyberchaseSam Vander RomVoice; three episodes
2005RobotsMailboxFilm; voice
2007, 201230 RockHimselfTwo episodes
2008Madagascar: Escape 2 AfricaNewscasterFilm; voice
2009Cloudy with a Chance of MeatballsPatrick PatricksonFilm; voice
2011WordGirlSonny DaysVoice; one episode
2011The Big YearNew York Weather ForecasterFilm
2012The Pirates! Band of Misfits!The Pirate Who Likes Sunsets and KittensFilm; voice
TremeHimselfOne episode
The SimpsonsHimselfVoice; one episode
2013The Michael J. Fox ShowHimselfOne episode
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2Patrick PatricksonFilm; voice


Billy Blessing novels[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Al Roker -". 2010-06-23. Archived from the original on 19 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  2. ^ a b Shea, Danny (April 29, 2009). ""Wake Up With Al": Roker Gets Weather Channel Morning Show". Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  3. ^ Cogdill, Oline, "The 2011 Nero Award Nominees"; Mystery Scene, June 15, 2011. Retrieved December 5, 2011
  4. ^ "Al Roker Biography". 1954-08-20. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  5. ^ a b c "Al Roker Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  6. ^ a b c "Al Roker Biography (1954–)". Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  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. ^
  9. ^ a b "Al Roker : Chefs". Food Network. Archived from the original on 28 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  10. ^ a b "Al Roker Blown by Hurricane Wilma". I Am Bored. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  11. ^ a b "Al Roker to host ‘Celebrity Family Feud’ - TODAY Entertainment -". Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  12. ^ a b "Celebrity Family Feud | Watch Episodes Online for Free – Family Feud, All American Summer & Game Shows | Celebrity Family Feud – NBC Official Site". Archived from the original on 1 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  13. ^ Al Roker at the Internet Movie Database
  14. ^ a b "Roker on the Road". Food Network. Archived from the original on 22 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  15. ^ Al Roker Radio Weather Network at United Stations Radio Network
  16. ^ a b c "Deborah Roberts – ABC News". 2007-04-28. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  17. ^ "The skinny on Roker's weight loss: Gastric bypass". USA Today. November 3, 2002. Retrieved April 23, 2010. 
  18. ^ Connor, Tracy (November 17, 2002). "Stars put fat-fighting surgery in the spotlight". Daily News (Daily News). p. 10. 
  19. ^ "Celebrity Friends of RMHC". McDonald's Corporation. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ a b Starr, Michael (June 9, 2007). "Joker Roker: 'Sorry'". New York Post. 
  22. ^ Barrett, Liz (October 18, 2006). "Al Roker Sure Loves His "Man Candy"". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2007-03-02. 
  23. ^ "Al gets 'first interview' with President Barack Obama". Al Roker blog on January 20, 2009. Archived from the original on 17 February 2009. Retrieved March 13, 2009. 
  24. ^ "Al Roker Trivia and Quotes on". Retrieved 2011-05-11. 

External links[edit]