October 28, 2021
Photo by: ABC Photo Archives / Contributor
Former child actor Jaleel White is widely recognized for his character Steve Urkle on the 1989 hit sitcom series Family Matters.
What fans might not know is the real reason why White auditioned for the show. Recently on Drew Barrymore’s talk show The Drew Barrymore Show, the California native surprised fans with his true intention to why he auditioned for the notable role.
“I was just a kid trying to make money and go to college,” says the 44-year-old.
Further revealing the rest of his secret, “It was just me and three other boys, and I really wanted this job because I wanted a Sega Genesis and my parents would let me go to Toys R Us and get whatever I wanted if I got this job,” he reflects on the popular video game console.
The NAACP Image Award winner was hired for the role of Urkle at 13 years old.
Acknowledging how much he contributed to the hit show, White expressed how his character saved the show.
During the first live taping of the show, a fraternity was in the audience. Accrediting the fraternity’s attendance also helped the Family Matters star seal the role.
“I’ll never forget these guys,” the actor said. “I always wished I could find them and thank them because they would chant, ‘We want the nerd’ in all the scenes that I wasn’t in during the live taping.”
Although the role of the fan-favorite Steve Urkle, this wasn’t White’s first acting job.
The child actor had an appearance on the widely popular sitcom series The Jeffersons, as the character of Van Van Morris in 1984.
His first acting gig was a part of the 1980s sitcom Charlie and Co.which starred comedian Flip Wilson, the Grammy-Award winner Gladys Knight, actor Kristoff St. John, actress Fran Robinson, and jazz/gospel singer Della Reese.
Much like The Cosby Show, Charlie and Co.portrayed the casted black family in a positive image, even though the show was only on-air for one season.
Again, the child star was the youngest actor on the set of Charlie and Co. securing the short-lived role of Robert Richmond at the age of nine years old.
White went on to play the first voice of the character of Sonic the Hedgehog, in the 1993 animation adaption of the widely popular comic book, and video game series Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. And also made appearances on shows such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Half and Half, The Game, and more.
Tell us if this secret shocked you as a Family Matters fan down below!
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