Who was Michael Jeter?
He was an actor with 80 acting credits to his name, but Michael Jeter is probably known best for his role as Herman Stiles in the early ’90s series “Evening Shade”, which brought him a 1992 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
Young viewers know Michael as Mr. Noodle in “Elmo’s World”, while movie lovers recognise him as Eduard Delacroix in the Oscar-nominated “Green Mile”. One way or another, he’s remembered for his woebegone look, extreme flexibility and high energy, To learn more about this versatile actor, keep on reading.
Early life, family, and education
Born Robert Michael Jeter under the zodiac sign of Virgo on 26 August 1952, in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee USA, he was the sixth child of Virginia, a housewife, and William Claud, a dentist. He had a brother, William, and four sisters, Lori, Amanda, Emily and Virginia.
Michael had an interest in medicine from an early age, however, upon matriculating from high school in 1970, he enrolled at the University of Memphis, where his interests changed, as he performed in several musicals and plays, and was bitten by the acting bug. He dropped out of college, and moved to Baltimore, Maryland to pursue his career as a stage actor.
Roles in movies
Michael made his acting debut as Sheldon in the 1979 cult movie “Hair”, starring John Savage, Treat Williams and Beverly D’Angelo, which was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical.
The following year saw Michael in a few TV movies, before he was cast to play Special Reporter in the 1981 drama “Ragtime”, which was nominated for eight Oscars (Best Costume Design, Best Music, Original Score, Best Music, Original Song, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, Best Actor in a Supporting Role-Howard E. Rollins Junior, and Best Actress in a Supporting Role-Elizabeth McGovern).
Michael was next seen in “Soup for One” (1982), “The Money Pit” (1986), and “Tango & Cash” (1989), among several others. The ‘90s saw him co-starring in numerous movies, and since the list of his roles is too long, we will identify some of his most recognizable.
Worth mentioning is his role as Father Ignatius in the 1993 comedy “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit”, starring Whoopi Goldberg, followed by his role as Quincy Thorpe in “Mousehunt” in 1997, which was nominated for the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA Award for Best Fantasy Film.
Michael was seen as Rudy in the 1998 biographical drama “Patch Adams”, the true story of a man determined to become a doctor, because he enjoyed helping people. The movie, starring Robin Williams, was nominated for the Oscar for Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score, and also had a nomination for the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical.
In 1999, Michael was seen in “Green Mile”, based on the novel of the same title by Stephen King, starring Tom Hanks, David Morse and Michael Clarke Duncan, which had 37 award nominations, including four Oscars (Best Sound, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published, Best Picture, and Best Actor in a Supporting Role – M.C. Duncan).
When it comes to Michael, he shares with the rest of the crew nominations for Awards Circuit Community for Best Cast Ensemble, and Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Theatrical Motion Picture.
The early 2000s saw Michael playing Mr. Noodle in “Elmo’s World: Babies, Dogs & More”, “Elmo’s World: Flowers, Bananas & More”, and “Elmo’s World: Singing, Drawing & More!” while he also co-starred in “The Gift” (2000).
He was cast to play Udesky in the 2001 movie “Jurassic Park III”, followed by his role as Percy in “Open Range”, which brought Michael and his co-stars the Western Heritage Award, Bronze Wrangler for Theatrical Motion Picture.
Michael was heard as Smokey in the 2004 animated movie “The Polar Express”, which brought him a nomination for the Visual Effects Society Award-Outstanding Performance by an Animated Character in an Animated Motion Picture. Sadly, he died before he received this nomination, however, this animated movie was dedicated to his memory.
Also, posthumously, he was seen in “Elmo’s World: Pets!” (2006) and “Elmo’s World: What Makes You Happy” (2007).
Remembering Michael Jeter, The actor who played Edward Delacroix in The Green Mile, Udesky in Jurassic Park III, Herman Stiles in Evening Shade, and Mr. Noodle's brother, Mr. Noodle in Elmo's World. He was also in The Polar Express. #MichaelJeter pic.twitter.com/0FZQbJs55B
— Alec Behan (@alec_behan) August 26, 2018
Roles in series
Michael made his first TV series appearance as Max Galt in an episode of the series “Lou Grant” in 1980. He was next seen as Ticket Agent in two episodes of the series “Search for Tomorrow” in 1982.
The following years saw him guest-starring in numerous series, and then from 1990 through 1994, he played his most notable television role as Herman Stiles, in 99 episodes of the series “Evening Shade”.
The series followed the story of a former pro football player who moved back to his hometown, and is now the coach of a high school team, starring Burt Reynolds, Marilu Henner and Elizabeth Ashley. Michael’s character was a math teacher and assistant coach. Besides the aforementioned Primetime Emmy Award, his performance in the show brought him three Viewers for Quality Television Awards for Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Comedy Series in 1991, ’92 and ’93.
He was also nominated for the 1992 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television. Before he received the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, he was nominated for this award in 1991, and later in 1993.
Concurrently, he was seen as Peter Lebeck in three episodes of the series “Picket Fences” which brought him a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 1993.
In 1995, he made a guest appearance as Bob Ryan in the episode “A Coupla Stiffs” of the series “Chicago Hope”, which brought him another Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.
From 1998 through 2003, Michael portrayed Mr. Noodle, and was seen in 40 episodes of the children’s television series “Elmo’s World”.
Concurrently, he was seen guest-starring in “Touched by an Angel” (1999), “Chicken Soup for the Soul” (2000), and “Taken” in 2002.
In MEMORY of MICHAEL JETER on his BIRTHDAY – Career years: 1979–2003Born Robert Michael Jeter, American character…
Love life and relationships
Michael hasn’t been the subject of any rumors concerning his love life, mostly because he was open about his sexual orientation. He was gay, and lived with his long-term partner Sean Blue, whom he met in 1995. The two were together until Michael’s death.
What happened to him? Death cause
On 30 March 2003, news of his sudden death spread through the internet and newspapers. His fans were shocked when he was found dead in his home, and various rumors began to circulate, since it was known that he was HIV positive, but the truth is that Michael died as a result of complications from an epileptic seizure. He was 50 years old.
Michael’s body was cremated and his ashes were given to his partner, Sean.
Many critics believe that because of his unique looks and acting talent, he could have been one of the greatest actors, but they also believe that he didn’t get the chances he deserved. Although he co-starred in several Oscar-awarded and nominated movies, he didn’t earn a hefty sum of money. At the time of his death, his net worth was estimated at close to $2 million.