Roker, Al(bert Lincoln) 1954-
ROKER, Al(bert Lincoln) 1954-
PERSONAL: Born August 20, 1954, in Queens, NY; son of Albert Lincoln, Sr. (a bus driver, dispatcher, and labor relations negotiator) and Isabel Roker; married Alice Bell, December 22, 1984 (divorced); married third wife, Deborah Roberts (a news correspondent), September 16, 1995; children: (second marriage) Courtney; (third marriage) Leila Ruth, Nicholas Albert. Education: Attended State University of New York—Oswego.
ADDRESSES: Offıce—NBC News, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Suite 1420, New York, NY 10112-0002. Agent— Harry Walker Agency, Inc., 355 Lexington Ave., 21st Floor, New York, NY 10017.
CAREER: Weather reporter and television personality. Weather reporter for local television stations, including WTVH, Syracuse, NY, 1974-76; WTTG, Washington, DC, 1976-78; and WKYC, Cleveland, OH, 1978-83. Appeared on television series, including (as weekend weather reporter) Live at 5, WNBC, New York, 1983-1984; (as weekday weather reporter) Live at 5, WNBC, 1984-1996; (as weather reporter) Weekend Today, National Broadcasting Company (NBC), 1987-1995; (as substitute weather reporter) Today (also known as NBC News Today and The Today Show), NBC, 1988-1995; (as host) Al Roker (talk show), CNBC, 1993-1996; (as weather reporter) Today (also known as NBC News Today and The Today Show), NBC, 1995—; (as weather reporter) Live at 5, WNBC, 1996-2000; (as feature reporter) Today (also known as NBC News Today and The Today Show), NBC, 1996—; (as host) Remember This? (quiz show), MSNBC, 1996-1997; and (as host) Going Places, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), 1997.
Appeared in television specials, including Christmas at Rockefeller Center, NBC, annually, 1985—; Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, NBC, annually, 1995—; (as narrator) Savage Skies (documentary), PBS, 1996; (as host) National Spelling Bee Championship Finals, CNBC, 1996; (as host) Tournament of Roses Parade, 1996; NY TV: By the People Who Made It, 1999; also appeared in What It's Like to Be Al, MTV. Host and executive producer of television specials, including Al Roker's World Championship Barbecue, Food Network, 1999; Al Roker's Bahamas Reunion, Food Network, 2000; Al Roker's Dining on the Strip, Food Network, 2000; Al Roker's Midwest Fest, Food Network, 2000; Al Roker's Colonial Christmas, Food Network, 2000; and Al Roker's Around the World in New York City, Food Network, 2001.
Guest star on television series, including Seinfeld, NBC, 1993; Mad about You, NBC, 1994; NewsRadio, NBC, 1996; The Single Guy, NBC, 1997; Superman, The WB, 1998; Space Ghost Coast to Coast (animated), Cartoon Network, 1999; Will & Grace, NBC, 2000; Sesame Street, PBS, 2001; and Hollywood Squares, syndicated. Managing editor and segment producer of the television series Going Places, PBS, 1997. Narrator of the audio book Don't Make Me Stop This Car!: Adventures in Fatherhood, Simon & Schuster Audio, 2000. Al Roker Productions, Inc., New York, NY, president, 1996—; RokerWare Inc., president and merchandise designer, 1996—; Roker. com Web site, creator and animation designer, 1996—.
MEMBER: American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Screen Actors Guild, American Meteorological Society.
AWARDS, HONORS: Seal of Approval, American Meteorological Society, 1980; Emmy Award for best host, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (Cleveland chapter), 1981; Emmy Award for best on-air talent, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (New York chapter), 1984; named best weatherman, New York magazine, 1985, 1993; Emmy Award for best on-air host, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (New York chapter), 1989; distinguished leadership award, Fairfield University Alumni Association, 1994; Daytime Emmy Award for outstanding special class program, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, 1997; distinguished alumnus award, State University of New York at Oswego, 1997; Emmy Award for outstanding Community Service, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, 1997; named America's favorite weather reporter, National Science Foundation, 1998; honorary D.H.L., State University of New York at Oswego, 1998; Daytime Emmy Awards for outstanding special class program, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, 1998, 1999, and 2000; Pinnacle of Achievement Award, Salvation Army, 2000; inducted into the Radio/Television Broadcaster's Hall of Fame, 2002.
Don't Make Me Stop This Car!: Adventures in Fatherhood, self-illustrated, Scribner (New York, NY), 2000.
Al Roker's Big Bad Book of Barbecue: 100 EasyRecipes for Backyard Barbecue, Scribner (New York, NY), 2002.
Al Roker's Hassle-Free Holiday Cookbook: 125Recipes for Family Celebrations All Year Long, Scribner (New York, NY), 2003.
Columnist for Parents magazine. Contributor to periodicals, including TV Guide.
SIDELIGHTS: Al Roker, the genial weather reporter on NBC's morning Today show, never intended to be a weatherman. He went to college to study communications with the goal of becoming a director, but he took a meteorology class as a sophomore to satisfy his science requirement. Because of that class, Roker was able to get a part-time job as a weather reporter on a local station while he was still in college, and he soon found himself hooked. Although being a weatherman was Roker's introduction to broadcasting, today he does much more on television than just report on sun and rain. Roker is a regular host for parades and other special events on NBC, and he owns his own production company and has starred in and executive produced several television specials for the Food Network.
Cooking, which is one of Roker's great passions, is also the topic of two of his books: Al Roker's Big Bad Book of Barbecue: 100 Easy Recipes for Backyard Barbecue and Al Roker's Hassle-Free Holiday Cookbook: 125 Recipes for Family Celebrations All Year Long. The text of the former book is full of simple, but tasty, recipes—like Steaks as Big as Your Head, which are prepared with only garlic, rosemary, and butter—that everyone with a backyard grill can do. "I wanted this to be something that people feel comfortable with," Roker told Michael Hastings of the Winston-Salem Journal. Not only are the recipes simple and "clearly written," Judith Sutton wrote in Library Journal, but the book is also "punctuated by Roker's trademark humor."
Roker is also the author of Don't Make Me Stop This Car!: Adventures in Fatherhood. "I had always kept a journal," Roker told Jack Bertram of the Clarion-Ledger, "just talking about stuff that affects our daily lives. A friend saw it and said, 'This is a book.'" In this "reassuring and gently humorous manual," as a reviewer described it in Publishers Weekly, Roker reflects on his own father and candidly discusses the challenges of welcoming and raising his two daughters: Courtney, who was adopted and who was a pre-teen when the book was written, and the infant Leila, who was conceived with Roker's third wife, ABC news correspondent Deborah Roberts, through a difficult process of fertility treatments. "His exuberance leaps off the page" when the fertility treatments finally proved successful, the Publishers Weekly reviewer declared.
Writing Don't Make Me Stop This Car! allowed Roker to fulfill an additional dream, being a cartoonist: the book is illustrated with Roker's own sketches. (Some of Roker's cartoons can also be seen on his animated Web site, http://www.roker.com.) Roker learned cartooning from his father, who, Roker says, would have been a professional cartoonist if doing so had not been impossible for an African-American at that time.
Roker's forays into writing have been well received by readers: Don't Make Me Stop This Car! reached number three on the New York Times bestseller list, and Al Roker's Big Bad Book of Barbecue was number one on the Los Angeles Times top ten cookbook list.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 12, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Newsmakers, Issue 1, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2003.
Roker, Al, Don't Make Me Stop This Car!: Adventures in Fatherhood, self-illustrated, Scribner (New York, NY), 2000.
Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ), July 24, 2002, Karen Fernau, review of Al Roker's Big Bad Book of Barbecue: 100 Easy Recipes for Backyard Barbecue and Grilling, p. FD3.
Cincinnati Post (Cincinnati, OH), June 13, 2000, "Al Roker Loves Being a Dad," p. 3B.
Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, MS), June 17, 2001, Jack Bertram, interview with Roker, p. G5.
Daily Variety, January 14, 2002, Marc Berman, profile of Roker, p. B6.
Dayton Daily News (Dayton, OH), May 22, 2002, Ann Heller, review of Al Roker's Big Bad Book of Barbecue, p. 4C.
Detroit News, May 23, 2002, Kate Lawson, review of Al Roker's Big Bad Book of Barbecue, p. 8.
Entertainment Weekly, February 11, 1994, Bruce Fretts, interview with Roker and others, pp. 42-43; January 31, 1997, Bruce Fretts, interview with Roker,
Fund Raising Management, January, 2000, "Salvation Army to Honor Al Roker at Annual Luncheon," p. 21.
Good Housekeeping, December, 2003, Kate Coyne, "More Than Just Merry: Inside the Festive Home of Today's Al Roker and His Wife, 20/20 Reporter Deborah Roberts," p. 97.
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, January 10, 2003, R. D. Heldenfels, "Al Roker Willingly Tackles Race in Cable Show," p. K7356.
Library Journal, June 1, 2000, Douglas C. Lord, review of Don't Make Me Stop This Car!, p. 168; April 15, 2002, Judith Sutton, review of Al Roker's Big, Bad Book of Barbecue, p. 120; November 15, 2003, Judith Sutton, review of Al Roker's Hassle-Free Holiday Cookbook: 125 Recipes for Family Celebrations All Year Long, p. 94; December 15, 2003, Renee Enna, "Roker's Rx for Holiday Survival," p. K2307.
New York, August 17, 1987, Lucy Schulte, "Roker the Rain King," p. 20.
New York Times, September 2, 1992, Evelyn Nieves, "Bright and Warm and Hold the Thunder," p. C1; June 9, 2002, Linda Lee, "Grillmaster Weather," p. ST5.
Parade, January 5, 1997, James Brady, "In Step with: Al Roker," p. 18.
Parents, June, 2001, Joanne Powell, profile of Roker and his family, pp. 98-100.
People, October 2, 1995, "Forecast: Sunny. TV Weatherman Al Roker Takes 20/20's Deborah Roberts beyond Bridal Showers," p. 72; October 7, 1996, Samantha Miller, "Chasing the Clouds Away," p. 42; November 4, 1996, Kim Cunningham, "The Gravity Gene," p. 150; April 12, 1999, Jeremy Helligar, "Baby Love: Today Weatherman Al Roker and His Wife, 20/20's Deborah Roberts, Go Gaga over Their New Daughter," p. 85; August 5, 2002, Olivia Abel, "Passages: Births," p. 77; November 18, 2002, Michelle Tauber, "100 & Counting: A New Day Dawns for Today's Al Roker, Who Speaks Candidly about the Gastric Bypass Surgery That Transformed His Life," p. 104; December 8, 2003, Michelle Tauber, "How's Al Doing? A Year after Going Public with His Weight-Loss Surgery, Al Roker Weighs the Pros and Cons of His Mega-Makeover," p. 101.
Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), October 2, 2000, Tom Feran, "See More Roker As Today Show Adds Third Hour," p. 1D; June 12, 2002, Joe Crea, review of Al Roker's Big Bad Book of Barbecue, p. F1.
Publishers Weekly, June 19, 2000, review of Don'tMake Me Stop This Car, p. 68; May 6, 2002, review of Al Roker's Big Bad Book of Barbecue, p. 50.
Record (Bergen County, NJ), January 13, 1997, Alan Solomon, "Roker's New Barometer of Success," p. Y1; July 10, 2002, Linda Giuca, review of Al Roker's Big Bad Book of Barbecue, p. F08.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 15, 2002, Josh Stevens, review of Al Roker's Big Bad Book of Barbecue, p. 24.
Star Ledger (Newark, NJ), January 3, 1997, "Daughter Motivates Roker to Shed the Pounds," p. 3; September 3, 1998, "Tough Nuns Gave Roker a Forecast of Success," p. 3.
Tampa Tribune (Tampa, FL), November 20, 1999, interview with Roker, p. 1; April 22, 2001, "A Day in the Life of Al," p. 1.
TV Guide, December 9, 2000, Al Roker, "Pop o' the Mornin'," pp. 28-30; September 21, 2002, J. Max Robins, "Al's Thinking Big," pp. 53-54.
US Weekly, July 23, 2001, Nina Burleigh, profile of Roker, pp. 40-41.
Winston-Salem Journal (Winston-Salem, NC), May 29, 2002, Michael Hastings, interview with Roker, p. E1.
Woman's Day, December 16, 2003, "The Holiday Forecast: Our Favorite Weatherman Cooks Up a Storm with Our Readers," interview with Roker, p. 137.
Al Roker Home Page,http://www.roker.com (June 17, 2003).
Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (May 25, 2003), "Al Roker."
MSNBC.com,http://www.msnbc.com/ (June 17, 2003), biography of Roker; "Al Roker is 'The Thin Man.'"*