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Jaleel White Biography

Jaleel White


Date of Birth
27 December 1976, Pasadena, California, USA

Birth Name
Jaleel Ahmad White

5' 11" (1.8 m)

  • Regularly played basketball against George Clooney while each was on their respective TV series, Family Matters (1989) and ER (1994), which were on nearby sets.
  • Graduated from UCLA Film School in 2001.
  • Attended Henry E. Huntington Middle School in San Marino, California.
  • Enjoys making homemade ice cream and even considered doing it professionally when he was a teenager.
  • Likes writing short stories and drawing cartoons.
  • Before auditioning for Steve Urkel on Family Matters (1989), he was looking for the classic nerd glasses (black, thin, with tape around the center) but had no luck. His father, a dentist, tossed him the glasses that he used to keep particles out of his eyes. Jaleel just figured that he would find different glasses at another time. The crew loved the look, so he kept them.
  • Is against alcohol and drugs.
  • Attended South Pasadena High School in South Pasadena, California. Once video-taped an experiment for Mr. Kemp's Physics class when he was away working on the set of Family Matters (1989).
  • Father is Michael, a dentist. Mother is Gail, a housewife.
  • After shooting his first scene as Steve Urkel on Family Matters (1989), 50 frat boys in the audience started chanting, "Urkel! Urkel! Urkel!" It was then that the show's producers realized how gifted he was.
  • Ranked #37 in VH1's list of the 100 Greatest Kid Stars.
  • Was considered for a main-character role during the casting of Saved by the Bell (1989).
  • Played the voice of Sonic the Hedgehog on three animated series, including Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog (1993), the ABC Saturday morning cartoon Sonic the Hedgehog (1993) and Sonic Underground (1999).
  • Ranked #1 in Q-Ratings (1991)
  • Originally was cast as Rudy on The Cosby Show (1984) until Bill Cosby decided to make the character a girl.
  • Father of a daughter, Samaya White, born 2009, with ex-girlfriend Bridget Hardy.
  • He has played the same character (Steven "Steve" Urkel) in four different television series: Full House (1987), Family Matters (1989), Step by Step (1991) and Meego (1997).
  • His acting mentor was Reginald VelJohnson.
  • Originally, his character on Family Matters (1989) was supposed to be a guest-star, but proved to be so popular that he stayed on as a regular.
  • It was rumoured that he would voice Sonic the Hedgehog again in Sonic Generations (2011), as one of the staff at Sega of America wanted him to voice Classic Sonic, but Jaleel was never approached about doing the role and they eventually decided to make Classic Sonic mute.
  • Trademarks:
  • Childhood role as Steve Urkel on the sitcom Family Matters
  • Flattop haircut
  • High, raspy voice
  • Quotes
  • The conventions of an almighty agency tapping you for greatness and signing you up and telling you this is going to be the next big thing; that has not been my career.
  • You need fans in high places, I always tell people. I don't care how talented you are.
  • You have to be respectful of pop culture, because people interpret it in the way they want.
  • Writing is still on my slate.
  • I've been in this business 31 years. I've never had a movie deal.
  • [1999, on his role as Steve Urkel on Family Matters (1989)] 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.

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