Born in 1954 in New York City, Al Roker began his career as a weatherman while attending the State University of New York at Oswego. He joined WNBC-TV in 1983, undertaking increasingly high-profile assignments until joining The Today Show as an anchor in 1996. Roker has also hosted a morning program for The Weather Channel, founded a production company and authored multiple best-selling books.
Early Years and Career
Weatherman and television personality. Born Albert Lincoln Roker Jr. on August 20, 1954, in New York City. The oldest of six children born to parents Albert Sr. and Isabel, Roker grew up in the St. Albans section of eastern Queens. He was drawn to television as a child, though he mainly imagined himself as an animator or a director, and never expected to become a featured performer.
After attending Manhattan's Xavier High School, where he was a member of the AV squad, Roker studied communications at the State University of New York at Oswego. He took a meteorology course to fulfill a science requirement, and with help from his department chairman he secured a weekend weatherman gig at a CBS affiliate in nearby Syracuse. Roker continued with the station through his senior year, earning his B.A. in 1976.
After graduation, Roker moved to Washington, D.C. to deliver the weather for the Metromedia station WTTG. During this time, he met veteran television personality Willard Scott, who became a key figure in the young weatherman's developing career. Roker then went to work in Cleveland in 1978, remaining with NBC affiliate WKYC-TV for five years.
Upon returning to New York City in 1983, Roker served as the weekend weatherman for WNBC-TV's flagship station. An engaging, jovial presence, he soon moved to weeknight broadcasts, and began appearing regularly as a substitute on such programs as NBC News at Sunrise and The Today Show. He was named co-host of NBC's annual Christmas at Rockefeller Center special in 1985, and eventually signed on for coverage of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Tournament of Roses Parade.
Roker received a career boost when Scott stepped down from The Today Show and recommended his protégé as his replacement. Roker officially joined the popular morning program as featured anchor and weatherman in January 1996, a role that gave him the opportunity to expand his national profile. Along with reporting from the site of natural disasters like the Haiti earthquake in 2010, Roker conducted interviews with such famed individuals as longtime Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz.
With the launch of Al Roker Entertainment, Inc. in 1994, the newsman began producing programs for several prominent networks, including Discovery, Lifetime, Spike and A&E. He scored successes with the Food Network's Roker on the Road, in which he traversed the country to report on local culinary favorites, and the PBS severe-weather series Savage Skies. Roker's cheerful personality also made him a natural fit for the role of game show host, with Remember This? and Celebrity Family Feud among his credits, and he appeared as himself on the popular shows Seinfeld, Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock.
Roker shouldered additional morning duties as co-host of The Weather Channel's Wake Up with Al show from July 2009 through October 2015. He has since moved to The Lift, a shorter program for the network's mobile app, and has focused efforts on the development of digital properties and content with the foundation of Al Roker Labs.
The accomplished newsman has won more than a dozen Emmy Awards, is a recipient of the American Meteorological Society’s Seal of Approval and has twice been named New York magazine's Best Weatherman. Roker is also a Guinness World Record holder, earning that distinction after delivering a 34-hour live weather broadcast for charity in November 2014. In June 2015, he was inducted into the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
Other Endeavors and Personal
In addition to his television and production work, Roker is a prolific author. His first book, Don’t Make Me Stop This Car: Adventures in Fatherhood (2000), became a New York Times best seller, and he followed with multiple cookbooks. Roker later teamed up with Dick Lochte to write The Morning Show Murders (2009), the first in a series of murder-mystery novels starring celebrity chef Billy Blessing.
In 2002, Roker underwent a highly publicized gastric bypass surgery to lose weight, dropping 100 pounds just eight months following the surgery. Underscoring his commitment to the fight against obesity, he successfully completed the New York City marathon in 2010.
Roker met television journalist Deborah Roberts when the two appeared on an episode of Today in 1990. Married in September 1996, they live in Manhattan and have two children, Leila and Nicky. Roker also has a daughter, Courtney, from a previous marriage.
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