‘Family Matters’ was one of the most popular sitcoms of the ’90s, and its breakout character was none other than Steve Urkel, played by Jaleel White. Urkel, with his iconic catchphrase ‘Did I do that?,’ quickly became a household name and a pop culture phenomenon. But what happened to Jaleel White and his career after the show ended? Let’s take a look.
Jaleel White’s Life After Family Matters
Before ‘Family Matters,’ Jaleel White had already appeared in a number of TV shows, such as ‘The Jeffersons’ and ‘Full House.’ However, it was his role as Steve Urkel that truly made him a star. After the show ended in 1998, White struggled to distance himself from the character and find new roles. In a 2012 interview with Vanity Fair, White said that he had trouble getting auditions and that no one wanted to approach him.
However, White eventually found success in other areas. He attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he studied film and television, and also participated in the 14th season of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ in 2012, where he finished in seventh place.
Jaleel White’s Television Guest Appearances
After finishing college, White landed guest appearances in a variety of popular shows, playing everything from a young lawyer interviewing for a job in ‘Boston Legal’ to a prison inmate named Porter in ‘House.’ In ‘NCIS,’ Jaleel White played a real estate investor who stumbles upon a dead body. He has also made appearances in ‘Psych,’ ‘Bones,’ and ‘Hawaii Five-0,’ among others.
Jaleel White’s Film Appearances
Jaleel White’s post-‘Family Matters’ career goes beyond guest spots on television. He’s also put together a significant resume of film work. In 2002, White had a supporting role in ‘Big Fat Liar.’ In 2006, he landed another supporting role in the stoner comedy ‘Puff, Puff, Pass.’
In what might be his most famous movie appearance, he played a talent booker in 2006’s ‘Dreamgirls.’ Lesser-known efforts include White’s leading role in the 2006 independent comedy ‘Who Made the Potatoe Salad?’ and his appearance in the 2009 adaptation of ‘Call of the Wild.’
In 2011, White played a banjo-playing teacher in ‘Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer.’ Jaleel also worked on the 2017 drama ‘The Preacher’s Son.’ In 2019, White was in two movies — the drama ‘When Vows Break,’ and the comedy ‘5th of July.’
Jaleel White: More Than Just Steve Urkel
Jaleel White’s portrayal of Steve Urkel in ‘Family Matters’ will forever be remembered as one of the most iconic TV characters of the ’90s. While it took some time for White to distance himself from the character, he has since found success in other areas of his life.
From attending UCLA to appearing on ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ Jaleel White has continued to make a name for himself. While we may not see him on our TV screens as often as we used to, he will always hold a special place in our hearts as Steve Urkel. His versatility as an actor and his willingness to take on a variety of roles have made him a respected figure in the entertainment industry. Who knows what he’ll do next?