Jaleel White: I've made a [bleep] of money
June 16th, 2011
08:00 AM ET

Jaleel White: I've made a [bleep] of money

If the casting for “The Cosby Show” had played out differently, Jaleel White – yes, Steve Urkel from “Family Matters” – could’ve been Rudy Huxtable instead of Keshia Knight Pulliam.

White, 34, tells Vanity Fair that the character was originally supposed to be a boy.

According to White, he thought he was all squared away – his agent had even told his parents to start looking for places in New York. But then, with one more audition left that was supposed to be a “formality for the network,” “a little girl comes walking in, and I’m like—even at eight years old—‘Who’s she?’” White recalls.

“And they’re like, ‘She’s auditioning for Rudy, too.’ So I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s not as much of a formality as I thought.’”

After lining up all the potential Huxtable kids, White, needless to say, was passed over. “The rest of us all went home crying. It was amazing. Obviously, I’m grateful that things worked out the way they did; I think it put a little more money in my pocket.”

Indeed, White continues, any job he didn’t get was probably for the best. “Let’s get something straight: All of these rejections resulted in me making a s--load of money elsewhere.”

Presumably, some of that cash came from his nine-year run as Steve Urkel, a job that White says he took seriously.

“I loved playing those characters…If I were Bart Simpson and I were animated, I’d still be on the air right now,” he says. The issue was that he was getting older. “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.”

Meaning he apparently wore his pants way too tight for too long – White says network execs started mentioning “the bulge of my sack!” In the last season, the pants became looser. “It’s not overly sophisticated,” White says. “I’m the highest paid black kid in the history of television, just so you understand that. I was trying to prolong the checks!”

And in case you’re curious, not even White knows what happened to poor Judy Winslow, the character that seemed to just disappear.

“I didn’t get an explanation. Her momma asked for too much and they sent her upstairs. That was it,” he recalls. “Back then, family television had a way of getting away with certain things that, obviously, you couldn’t get away with now.”

White stars as a bango-strumming teacher in the family film “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer,” in theaters now.

Filed under: Celebrities • television

soundoff (38 Responses)
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  3. Jany Urtonu

    I believe this website contains very excellent written articles posts.

    July 10, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MadCityBabe

    ....ya whatever dude!

    June 20, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  5. Brian

    this guy is just like everyone else from that era, they failed to make the changes they needed to make in order to be relevant in the business, and here they are still talking about what could have been. I still don't understand why the Simpsons is still on, it was good once, but I haven't watched it in years. Family Matters, Friends, Party of Five, etc. people on these shows just stuck with them for way too long and got pigeon-holed in the process, not growing as professionals.

    June 20, 2011 at 5:16 am | Report abuse |
  6. Kenny

    So at least 3 times in that article he indicates about "how much" money he made, has or earned. What's the reason behind that? Does he think we care or is it a sign of insecurity? Methinks the latter.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  7. smartthought

    at least he didnt blow it on stupid stuff like jewely and women. better to have it now. jealous ones still envey, and burger flippers hate.

    June 18, 2011 at 4:22 am | Report abuse |
  8. Josh Noloc

    It takes a lot to maintain a character regardless how it may impact ones health...

    June 18, 2011 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mariee

    You were a great actor, put some glasses on and don't give up, or do what Opie did and make movies instead.

    June 17, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. LaVerne

    Is it just me . . . or is he looking more and more like Mr. T?

    June 17, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sekemet

    Well get animated and get on the air again or I am just not tuned in and if you made that much money pass some cash this way Thank You

    June 17, 2011 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  12. popcone

    Urkel is still Nerd.He's got NERD EYES

    June 16, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mejazzbo

    I was surprised and happy to see Mr. White in "Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer". He was the high point in the move for me.

    June 16, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mia

    Hey, fake Whitney. Even the real Whitney, crack pipe and all will always be famous, rich, her music will live forever and like the show "CHEERS" everybody knows her name. I doubt that Jaleel is a druggie. He is rich and successful with more money that you will ever see. Jealousy and envy's a B!tch!!!! And I suggest you stay off of the Meth and prepare for your junior year in high school.

    June 16, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mitchell Moore

    He's far from a "has been celebrity". He works when he wants to work and everyone knows who he is. "Family Matters" didn't even take off until Steve Urkel was introduced. Jaleel White was paid an insane amount of money for the show, the majority of it he couldn't even touch until he was an adult. So, stop hating.

    June 16, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Whitney Houston

      He uh irratatn, semi celeberty wunna bee gay crack smokin fool.

      bobbbbyyy...EEEHHH BOOOBBBEEEEEHHHHH where my crack pipe?

      June 16, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snoop

      Ladies and gentlemen.. the founder and only member of the Jaleel White fan club!

      June 16, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  16. blackcurry

    Is a "bango" anything like a banjo? LOL

    June 16, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Jaleel White

    Dath Tater, whatever the word "POOT" means I just did that to your mother... after I was done I asked her a simple question.

    "Did I do that?"

    June 16, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  18. Sonic the Hedgehog

    Kids, there's nothing more cool than being hugged by someone you like. But if someone tries to touch you in a place or a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, that's no good! It's your body – no-one has the right to touch you if you don't want them to. So what do you do? First, you say no. Then you get out of there. Most Important ya gotta tell someone you trust, like your parents, your teacher, a police officer!

    June 16, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  19. Eddie Longs Toupe'

    He should do the gay comedy circut. He could do urkel in a gay bar wearing only a pair of chaps and propositioning. "Weeeeellll your Schlooooogggg sure looks TAAAASteee"

    June 16, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  20. be quiet

    has been celebrities who claim to "have a ton of money" usually do not.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  21. Stephen Urkel

    Got any cheeeeese?

    June 16, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  22. the dook

    It turned out good for him. Plus little Rudy on The Cosby Show was a sweetie ! She was funny and cute. Im glad it worked out good for both of them.

    June 16, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  23. Well Darth Tater

    You said it, "character". He was a good actor if he irritated you. The doookie talk has gotten stale. More variety, please.

    June 16, 2011 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Retired Troll

      @ Well Darth Tater

      Trolls these days are just like the music industry. There's no creativity, and the material is rushed with no thought. These kids get dumber by the generation, but there's nothing you can do about it. Live with it.

      June 16, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • The Mad R@p3r

      So what's retirement like? I've been looking at the 401k and i'm not so sure it'll hold me over?

      June 16, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • @ The Mad R@p3r (via Retired Troll)

      Life is pretty good these days. Invest heavily in your 401k and IRA. As long as you're an effective and good troll (which I've noticed you are) you shouldn't have a problem.

      June 17, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • RitaChip

      stevey if i gave you my number would you call me? haha .. Got any cheese????? haha...

      June 17, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |

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