Jaleel White has revealed that the main reason he wanted to land the Family Matters role of Steve Urkel is because of a popular game console at the time.
According to Atlanta Black Star, White said in a recent interview on The Drew Barrymore Show that he “was just a kid trying to make money and go to college.”
“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 said. He was one of the youngest actors auditioning for the role at 13 years old. But, as he said, he acted his role in such a way that the character became popular with fans. So popular that the character saved the then-fledgling series from getting cancelled.
“I’ll never forget these guys,” he said about a group of fraternity members who sat in the audience during his performance. “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.”
You can view the full interview below:
White has been revisiting his Family Matters days in his popular podcast, 'Ever After.'
It is becoming a TV series produced by Audio Up Media and streaming service Topic. The podcast and series focuses on White’s “early days in the industry” including “a unique insight into what life was like after the iconic run as Urkel ended.”
White has also reprised his role as Urkel in Warner Bros. animated projects including the upcoming animated special Did I Do That to the Holidays? A Steve Urkel Story. The special will air on Cartoon Network during the network’s ACME Night lineup later this year.