Jaleel White

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Jaleel White

White in December 2010
BornJaleel Ahmad White
(1976-11-27) November 27, 1976 (age 35)
Pasadena, California, U.S.
OccupationActor, Voice actor,Singer Screenwriter
Years active1984 — present
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Jaleel White

White in December 2010
BornJaleel Ahmad White
(1976-11-27) November 27, 1976 (age 35)
Pasadena, California, U.S.
OccupationActor, Voice actor,Singer Screenwriter
Years active1984 — present

Jaleel Ahmad White (born November 27, 1976)[1] is an American actor and screenwriter, best known for his role as Steve Urkel in Family Matters[2] and voicing the character of Sonic the Hedgehog, as well as other characters for the Sonic the Hedgehog series.

In March 2012, White began appearing as a contestant in season 14 of Dancing with the Stars. He was partnered with two-time dance champion Kym Johnson.[3]

White also hosts the game show Total Blackout, which premiered on the Syfy channel on April 25, 2012.[4]


Early life

White was born in Pasadena, California, the son of Michael White, a dentist, and Gail, a homemaker. White 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.[1]


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.

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.[5] 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.[6]

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."[7] 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.

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.[8] 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. Currently, White is voicing Sonic the Hedgehog in a Sonic fan film by independent filmmaker Eddie LeBron.

In 2001, White graduated from UCLA with a degree in film and television.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11] The series follows the exploits of a former child star (White) turned image consultant and his three protégés as they hustle to navigate Hollywood.[12]

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.[13]

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

Dancing with the Stars

In 2012, White began competing on the season 14 of Dancing with the Stars, partnered with Kym Johnson.

In the opening night's performance, White and Johnson danced the Foxtrot to "The Way You Look Tonight". They earned a total of 26 points out of 30.[14]

Selected filmography

1984The JeffersonsVan Van MorrisEpisode: "Ebony and Ivory"
1984Silence of the HeartHanryTelevision movie
1985Charlie & Co.Robert Richmond18 episodes
1986The LeftoversJakeTelevision movie
1987Mr. BelvedereErnie MastersEpisode: "Jobless"
1987Good Morning, Miss BlissBobby WilsonEpisode: Pilot
1989–1998Family MattersSteve Urkel
204 episodes
1990Camp CucamongaDennis BrooksTelevision movie
1991Full HouseSteve UrkelEpisode: "Stephanie Gets Framed"
1993Adventures of Sonic the HedgehogSonic the Hedgehog (voice)65 episodes
1993–1994Sonic the HedgehogSonic the Hedgehog (voice)26 episodes
1995The Fresh Prince of Bel-AirDerekEpisode: "Not with My Cousin You Don't"
1997MeegoSteve UrkelEpisode: "Love and Money"
1998Quest for CamelotBladebeak (voice)
1999–2000Grown UpsJ. Calvin Frazier22 episodes
1999–2000Sonic UndergroundSonic, Manic, & Sonia (voices)40 episodes
2002Big Fat LiarHimselfUncredited
2005Half & HalfHershelEpisode: "The Big State of the Reunion Episode"
2006Miracle Dogs TooLeo
2006Puff, Puff, PassTenant #2Uncredited
2006Who Made the Potatoe Salad?Michael
2006DreamgirlsTalent Booker
2007The GameChrisEpisode: "The Big Chill"
2007Boston LegalKevin GivensEpisode: "Guise 'n Dolls"
2008Kissing CousinsAntwone
2008Green FlashJason BootieDirect-to-DVD release
Alternative title: Beach Kings
2009Call of the WildDr. Spencer
2009PsychTonyEpisode: "High Top Fade Out"
2010Fake It Till You Make ItReggie Culkin10 episodes
2010Mega Shark Versus CrocosaurusDr. McCormick
2011The Problem SolverzK-999 (voice)2 episodes
2011Are We There Yet?Ray SavageEpisode: "The Nick Gets Jealous Episode"
2011Judy Moody and the Not Bummer SummerMr. Todd
2011HousePortlandEpisode: "Twenty Vicodin"
2012Guardians of LunaKahn (voice)Filming
2012NCISMartinEpisode: "A Desperate Man"
2012PsychTonyEpisode: "Let's Doo-Wop It Again"
2012Total BlackoutHost

Awards and nominations

Awards and nominations
YearAwardCategoryTitle of workResult
1985Young Artist AwardBest Young Actor - Guest in a Television SeriesThe JeffersonsNominated
1986Young Artist AwardBest Young Supporting Actor in a New Television SeriesCharlie & Co.Nominated
1991Young Artist AwardOutstanding Young Comedian in a Television SeriesFamily MattersWon
1994NAACP Image AwardsOutstanding Youth Actor/ActressFamily MattersWon
1995NAACP Image AwardsOutstanding Youth Actor/ActressFamily MattersWon
1996NAACP Image AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesFamily MattersNominated
1997NAACP Image AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesFamily MattersWon
1996Nickelodeon Kids' Choice AwardsFavorite Television ActorFamily MattersNominated


  1. ^ a b Laufenberg, Norbert B. (2005). Entertainment Celebrities. Trafford Publishing. p. 697. ISBN 1-4120-5335-8. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ "Dancing with the Stars Cast Announced". http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20574087,00.html. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  4. ^ "Syfy - Total Blackout - Jaleel White Interview". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ia8pDasx72o. Retrieved 2012-04-16. 
  5. ^ "Family Matters: 1989-1998". People. 2000-06-26. http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20131627,00.html. Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ Tucker, Ken (1999-09-10). "Mo' and More". ew.com. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,270659,00.html. Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
  9. ^ "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. 
  10. ^ "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]
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ "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. 
  13. ^ "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. 
  14. ^ Parsley, Aaron (2012-03-19). "Dancing with the Stars Returns with a Vengeance". people.com. http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20579933,00.html. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 

External links