Yesterday Vanity Fair posted an interview with Jaleel White, who just so happens to have a small role as a banjo playing teacher in Judy Moody and the No Bummer Summer. Here’s something that will make you feel ancient: the boy who once played Steve Urkel is now a 34-year-old man. Yep, let that sink in. The piece is chock full of other tidbits former TFIG watchers will find interesting, but considering that most people aren’t getting paid to read such things (and we are!), we thought we’d take some notes for you. Click through for the highlights.
On auditioning for the role of Rudy Huxtable on The Cosby Show: “They were in such a hurry to get to New York and start filming that they came out and picked the kids one by one right in front of all of us. Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Tempest Bledsoe . . . The rest of us all went home crying.”
On his relationship with his Family Matters co-stars: “Things were definitely strained in the early going. There’s no sense in hiding that. There was a division between myself and the rest of the cast, but over nine years and 215 episodes, obviously relationships get better.”
On the shelf life of his career as Steve Urkel: “If I were Bart Simpson and I were animated, I’d still be on the air right now. Trust me. But the fact is that I was maturing. I knew physically I had made certain sacrifices to keep that property alive that just couldn’t be made anymore. I wasn’t changing my hair; I was staying out of the gym. To be honest, I was retarding my own growth as a man in order to maintain the authenticity to what I thought that character should be.”
On accidentally flashing Steve Urkel’s little Urkel: “I was getting network notes on the bulge of my sack! I wore my pants so freaking tight and it was like, after awhile, we got a problem there.”
On where Judy Winslow (the little sister on Family Matters) disappeared to: “Oh, Lord. Shoot, I didn’t get an explanation. Her momma asked for too much and they sent her upstairs. That was it.”