Jaleel White Says He ‘Cried’ After Playing Myrtle Urkel — Here’s Why:
Jaleel White is forever going to be known as the iconic Steve Urkel from Family Matters. During the show’s run, he played multiple characters — many of which were relatives of Steve.
One of the characters was Steve’s Southern belle cousin Myrtle Urkel, whom he says he played so well he was scared he was going to get picked on at school.
“I always believe that if I believe it, they’ll believe it. So, I had to be a girl,” he said to Entertainment Weekly. “At that age, I was concerned that my friends at school were gonna make fun of me. … At the end of that first episode [playing] Myrtle, I went in my dressing room and I cried. And then the producers came to check on me, and my dad told them that I would never do that character again… I knew I had done it so well, I was like, ‘Damn, they definitely gonna make fun of me at school for this.’ … I had gone there.”
As far as creating Myrtle in the first place:
“I was just kind of bored,” he remembered, “and I [walked into] the writers’ room one day and I said, ‘If you guys want to do Myrtle again, I’ll do it.’ And I remember they just cheered. When I did go to school after the first time I did it, no one made fun of me. Everybody just thought it was absolutely hysterical. … [A few years later] I was starting to get a good idea for what were going to be good sweeps week episodes and I just felt like we needed a [shot in the arm], and that’s how Myrtle came back.”