Aug. 20th, 1954
Queens, New York, USA
Al Roker's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Roker was born in Queens, New York, the son of Isabel, of Jamaican descent, and Albert Lincoln Roker, Sr., a labor relations negotiator, bus driver and dispatcher, of Bahamian descent. Roker initially wanted to be a cartoonist. He was raised Catholic (in the faith of his mother) and graduated from Xavier High School in Manhattan. He worked on several projects as a member of the school's Cartooning & Illustration Club. He attended the State University of New York at Oswego where he double-majored in graphic design and broadcasting/journalism. Roker is the cousin of the late actress Roxie Roker, who was most notable for her role on the sitcom The Jeffersons and the mother of popular rock musician Lenny Kravitz.
Before the national recognition, Roker worked as a weather anchor for CBS affiliate WHEN-TV (now WTVH) in Syracuse, New York from 1974 until 1976, while he was still enrolled at SUNY Oswego. Following the completion of his collegiate studies, Roker moved to Washington, D.C. and took a weathercasting position at independent station WTTG, then owned by Metromedia, remaining there for much of the next two years.
Roker's career with NBC began in 1978 when he was hired at WKYC-TV in Cleveland, then an NBC owned-and-operated station. After five successful years in Cleveland, Roker was promoted to the network's flagship outlet, WNBC-TV in his hometown. Roker returned to New York City in late 1983 as a weekend meteorologist, and within eight months became the station's regular weeknight weathercaster. Roker replaced 27-year WNBC-TV veteran Dr. Frank Field, who left the network after a contract dispute. From 1983 to 1996, Roker was the regular substitute for forecaster Joe Witte on the NBC News program NBC News at Sunrise, and from 1990 to 1995 filled-in for Willard Scott on the Today Show. In 1995, he became the host of The Al Roker Show, a weekend talk show on CNBC. In 1996–1997, he hosted a game show on MSNBC called Remember This?.
Roker started getting more exposure, especially when David Letterman asked him to do an elevator race with him in one episode of his talk show Late Night with David Letterman, which taped across the hall from WNBC's news studio in the GE Building. That led Roker to getting a job as the forecaster for Weekend Today. He also substituted on the weekday edition of Today when Willard Scott was ill or away. In 1996, Scott announced his semi-retirement from the show, and Roker received the weekday weather position on Today, where he has been since. He officially joined Today on January 26, 1996. Roker became popular for doing his forecasts outside of the studio, interviewing audience members and giving some of them camera time. Roker also began doing more interviews and segments on the show as time progressed.
In 2005, Roker reported from inside Hurricane Wilma. A popular viral video exists on the internet of Roker being swept off his feet by the force of the hurricane and holding on to his cameraman.
Roker is a game show fan, and hosted a week-long segment on Today in honor of five game shows and their hosts. He also appeared as a celebrity player on both Merv Griffin game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. In 2008, Roker hosted NBC's Celebrity Family Feud. Roker also substituted Meredith Vieira for a week of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire shows on March 5–9, 2007. Roker also hosted the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Roker also hosts various programs on The Food Network, namely, Roker on the Road, and, Tricked-Out Tailgating. He is also the author of several non-fiction books, and an avid barbecue enthusiast.
- 31 August 2005 - Underwent back surgery for a ruptured disc.
- Went through stomach by-pass surgery which he chronicled on _"Today" (1952)_ (qv) in order to educate other obese people that something can be done to help them.
- (November 1998) Daughter Leila, with wife 'Deborah Roberts (II)' (qv), was born.
- Double majored in graphic design and broadcasting/journalism in college.
- Initially wanted to be a cartoonist before he got into television.
- Cousin of 'Roxie Roker' (qv) and her son, singer 'Lenny Kravitz' (qv).
- Graduated from the prestigious Xavier High School in New York City, where he was a member of the Cartooning & Illustration club.
- Graduated from State University of New York (SUNY) College at Oswego with a degree in communications.