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Jaleel Ahmad Massoud White (born November 27, 1976) is an American actor, writer, and a voice actor for Regular Show who is well known for portraying Steve Urkel on Family Matters as well as voicing Sonic the Hedgehog in the DiC Animated television trilogy.
Early life and career
Jaleel Ahmad Massoud White was born on November 27, 1976, in Pasadena, California to his parents, Michael White, a dentist, and Gail White, who is his son's manager. He began acting at the age of 3 after his preschool teacher persuaded his mother in allowing him to act. He made his acting debut in a commercial for Goodyear Tires. He then started acting in commercials for several companies, such as Jack in the Box, Kellogg's, Toys-R-Us, Atari, McDonald's, Pepsi, Nabisco, and was in a commercial alongside Bill Cosby for Jello pudding. He made his television debut on The Jeffersons, where he played a piano prodigy. He then had a supporting role in the short-lived sitcom Charlie & Co., portraying Robert Rammond, where Flip Wilson and Gladys Knight played his parents. He also auditioned to be Rudy Huxtable on The Cosby Show, before the character's gender was changed to female. He also appeared in the TV movies Silence of the Heart as Henry, Kids Don't Tell, and Leftovers as Jake. He also portrayed Dennis Brooks in another TV movie, Camp Cucamonga.
Family Matters and other roles
White then auditioned for what was meant to be a one-time guest appearance on Family Matters, portraying nerdy neighbor Steve Urkel on the episode "Laura's First Date." In order to prepare for the part, he borrowed a pair of his father's thick-framed glasses. White's performance as Urkel was so well received Urkel became the breakout character of the show, and producers decided to add him to the main cast. The character became so popular he had a line of merchandise, including a talking doll, a cereal brand called "Urkel O's". He won three NAACP Image Awards for his work on the show. White also starred, directed, and wrote a television special, Urkel's Other Side: Jaleel White Special in 1992. He would remain on the show for the next nine years until it ended in 1998. While working on Family Matters, he appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show regularly, reprised his role as Urkel on Full House and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and provided the voice of Sonic the Hedgehog on The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog, as well as Sonic Underground, where he also portrayed brother Manic and sister Sonia on the latter.
After Family Matters ended, White tried to distance himself from Urkel out of fear he would be typecast. His first role following Family Matters was on the short-lived sitcom UPN Grown Ups as J. Calvin Frazier in 1999. The role was originally written in mind for a white male, but producers decided to give the role to White. White then decided to take a hiatus from acting in order to focus on his studies at college, and he would graduate from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2001, earning a bachelor's degree in film and television.
Guest appearances and Dancing with the Stars
White then appeared on Psych and in 2009 appeared on the web series Race to the Altar; a year later, he wrote, directed, produced, and starred in his web series, Fake it Til You Make It. He then appeared in the music video "Cry Baby" by Cee Lo Green in 2011. Also in 2011, he provided the voice of K-999 on The Problem Solverz. In 2012, White signed on to participate in the dance competition show Dancing with the Stars, where he competed against former Charlie and Co. co-star Gladys Knight; he was voted out of competition in the seventh week. That same year, he began hosting a game show, Total Blackout, which aired on the Syfy Network. White is also currently writing a screenplay for the big screen.
This section may be incomplete
White is Christian. He is also an avid basketball fan, having written a blog on the National Basketball Association's website and played basketball with his idols Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan at a charity event. White's hobbies include playing and watching basketball, ping-pong, tennis, and the NBA and writing. White has a daughter named Samaya (born in 2009) and also dated Bridget Hardy. He resides in Los Angeles, California.
- Wikipedia article on Jaleel White
- Jaleel White's official website
- Jaleel White's Instagram
- Jaleel White's Twitter
- Jaleel White's YouTube