Best Known For
Actor Jaleel White rose to fame as the nerdy boy-next-door Steve Urkel on the 1990s hit sitcom Family Matters.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Born in California on November 11, 1976, Jaleel White started out performing in commercials. The child actor then landed roles on The Jeffersons and Charlie & Co. His big break came in 1989, with the sitcom Family Matters. After the series ended in 1998, White starred in Grown Ups and had guest roles on such shows as Psych. In 2012, he joined the cast of Dancing With the Stars and became the host of Total Blackout.
The son of a dentist, Jaleel White has earned a place in television history for his beloved character on the 1990s sitcom Family Matters. He played Steve Urkel, a geeky kid with big glasses and undersized clothes, and his character became a pop-culture icon, appearing on everything from lunchboxes to T-shirts.
White discovered performing at an early age. Around the age of 3, he began working in commercials. One of White's first acting roles was on the hit comedy The Jeffersons, in which he played a piano prodigy. He soon landed a supporting role in Charlie & Co., playing the son of comedian Flip Wilson and singer Gladys Knight. Debuting in the fall of 1985, this family sitcom lasted for only one season.
Auditioning for what was supposed to be a one-time guest spot, White was up for the part of a nerdy neighbor on a new sitcom, Family Matters. The show focused on the lives of an African American police officer (Reginald VelJohnson), his wife (Jo Marie Payton) and their three children. To get into the part, White borrowed a pair of thick-framed glasses from his father. His performance as Steve Urkel won over the show's producers, who gave him a more substantial role in the series. Beginning its run after the debut of The Cosby Show, Family Matters became one of the few shows on television to depict the everyday life of an African-American family.
White became the breakout star of the show. Audiences delighted in Urkel's wacky antics, awkward outfits and cute catchphrases. Urkel even had his own dance and a line of merchandise including a talking doll. While on Family Matters, White worked on other projects as well. He voiced the title character on the animated series Sonic the Hedgehog and made guest appearances on other sitcoms, including Full House and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
After Family Matters ended in 1998, White worked hard to distance himself from his legendary character. He tried to show his more mature side by playing a young professional on the short-lived sitcom Grown Ups in 1999. Outside of acting, White completed his studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2001. He earned a bachelor's degree in film and television.
White started exploring a new medium in 2009, appearing in the Web series Race to the Altar. The following year, he tackled the Web himself, writing, directing, producing and starring in Fake It Til You Make It. White played a former child star who works as a celebrity image consultant.
profile name: Jaleel White profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
This group features some of our most beloved child stars. From the adorable kids of E.T., to the infamous 80s 'Brat Pack,' these young performers captured our hearts with their unforgettable characters. While many have flourished into some of the most successful actors in the business, others have faded out of the spotlight. Here we look at the group of stars who wowed us with their young talent, and remain as some of our favorite characters of all time. Plus, it's fun to see who they were then, and who they are now... check out our Where Are They Now photo gallery!
Where Are They Now 31 people in this group
Child stars are the pint-sized actors we've watched grow up on screen. These talented actors began their careers and traversed the triumphs and pitfalls of fame at an early age. While some child stars, like Sarah Jessica Parker and Natalie Portman, have continued their success into adulthood, others have been plagued by troubles following their early fame. Here's a look at some of the actors who made it big when they were kids.
Child Stars 36 people in this group
The famous dance-competition show Dancing with the Stars has seen more than a dozen seasons and a gamut of stars, including Apolo Anton Ohno, Kirstie Alley, Joey Fatone, Jennifer Grey, David Hasselhoff, Buzz Aldrin, Brandy, Wynonna Judd, Dorothy Hamill, D.L. Hughley, Jacoby Jones, Ingo Rademacher and Aly Raisman. Learn more about the show's contestants, who, for a period, swapped their skills as athletes, actors, musicians, comedians, TV personalities and politicians for a chance to show off their footwork on national TV.
Cast of Dancing with the Stars 101 people in this group