*Whether he likes it or not, Jaleel White has become part of American pop culture due to his memorable character of Steve Urkel on the ’90s sitcom “Family Matters.”
Since the role, White has tried to show that he can play more than just the geeky, annoying neighbor that he made famous. (He’s portrayed Bruce Lee, Elvis Presley and a member of the opposite sex.) But he doesn’t feel like people are giving him props for taking on a variety of roles.
“I’m very versatile, but somehow I didn’t earn the tag of being called a versatile actor,” White, 34, tells People. “I’m still chasing that one Vanity Fair tag that says, ‘This guy’s a versatile actor.’ I accept it. It’s fine. But for me, it’s like what do I have to do to get that [acknowledgement]?”
White, who says he gets “recognized everywhere I go,” isn’t big on reminiscing about the days of playing the character who made him a household name.
“I don’t [miss playing Urkel],” he says. “I really don’t. I’m not trying to get away from it or anything like that, but I don’t miss the role at all – really. I just want to work. I want my daughter to say, ‘I know what Daddy does,’ not ‘what Daddy did.”
White – who most recently played an inmate on Fox’s House, M.D. earlier this year – guest stars as a scheming wealthy director on the season premiere of fellow former child star Tatyana Ali’s latest sitcom, “Love That Girl!.” The actor says it’s “cool” sharing a screen with Ali, who he hasn’t filmed with since his small stint on “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” many years ago.
The episode, which airs Monday night at 8 p.m. on TV One, is the first of many more roles to come, predicts White.
“I just want people to know I haven’t gone anywhere,” he says. “The passion was gone for awhile, but I’ve got my mojo back.”
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