Jaleel White to reprise his iconic ’90s sitcom role

Former child star Jaleel White is reprising his role as Steve Urkel just in time for the holiday season.

On Cartoon Network’s animated special, “Did I do this for the holidays?” A Steve Urkel Story, ”White will once again voice the goofy teenage nerd as he wreaks havoc on the Christmas festivities and tries to save the day with one of his original inventions.

Family Matters stars Darius McCrary (left) and Jaleel White (right) pose for a photo. Y (Photo: @ jaleelwhite / Instagram)

The comedic character of Urkel was introduced to millions of families in 1989 when he first appeared in “Family Matters”. At the time, White was only 12 years old and had already started to make his mark as a child actor in the industry.

While the cast of the Winslow Family was tight-knit, White previously noted that he didn’t receive the warmest reception on set for his first appearance on “Family Matters.” “I was not welcomed into the cast at all,” he explained during his May 2021 shoot for TV One’s “Unsung” series. He then clarified, stating, “They know what it was… I didn’t think it was for ‘Family Matters’, because it was supposed to be just a guest spot, one and done. “

But as America fell in love with the nerdy and intrusive neighbor of the Winslow family, so did the cast. White recounted his experience on the hit show as one of the best learning grounds for his career.

“It was an amazing experience. I learned physical comedy to a degree that most child actors will never learn. I really just became a student of it – I became obsessed with it to be quite. honest, ”White told TV Guide in 2010.“ I’ve been fortunate enough to work with very powerful producers like Tom Miller and Bob Boyett. [They] gave me an inordinate amount of freedom …

White also gained a massive fan base as Urkel clearly became the star of the show. The fandom of the Laura Winslow-obsessed teen eventually turned into opportunities for million dollar merchandise such as t-shirts, sheets, posters and more from Urkel, and her debonair alter ego Stephan has become all the craze.

“They [the show] need a spark. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was just me, I was just following my gut, “White said of his reaction to the ’90s staple role.” I wasn’t a kid trying to get famous. I wasn’t in any Disney Channel wheelhouse. I was basically a black kid whose parents put him in the business so he could go to college, ”he added.

A little over two decades have passed since “Family Matters” aired its last episode. Since then, the veteran child actor has found work in television series such as “Fresh Off the Boat” and “The Big Show”, as well as numerous film roles. But, even after proving himself to be more than the popular accident-prone teenager of the 1990s, White continues to find new ways to present Urkel to the public.

Although he’s best known for the role and still portrays him in his forties, White isn’t in the least concerned about critics who see him as typography. “When it comes to typography, I always tell people, ‘You are only good according to your opportunities,’” White said in a conversation with TV Guide. “The nature of television is that it’s a beast with a lot of opinions. I don’t consider myself to be cataloged any more than Neil Patrick Harris as Doogie Howser or James Gandolifini as Tony Soprano. I could play the “Where are they now?” »Game with a lot of people. The process is this: I need to grow up, to mature, to become an adult, and then surprise people with new things. ”

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