The “Family Matters” Reunion Made Us So Happy
Reunions and remakes of ’90’s sitcoms are all the rage these days. Netflix has “Fuller House,” NBC is launching their reunion/remake of “Will and Grace.” It’s what the people want. With that in mind, Entertainment Weekly, gathered the cast of the hit tv show “Family Matters” and photographer Ramona Rosales showed us what everyone is looking like 20 years after the show ended its historic run.
I say historic because from 1989 to 1997, “Family Matters,” with 215 episodes was second only to the “The Jeffersons” with the highest number of episodes for a show featuring an all Black cast. Once Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne” was released, it pushed both sitcoms back in terms of record holding. “Family Matters” is number 3 today.
Check out the cast today and a few fun facts about the actor behind these beloved characters.
Jo Marie Payton – Harriette Winslow
Payton is 67-years-old. But to look at her, you would never know it. She doesn’t look like she’s aged much at all since the show first began airing. If you were a true “Family Matters” fan, you have remembered that Payton left halfway through the final season. For years, rumors swirled that it was because Jaleel White had become a focal point of the show. But in an interview with TVSeriesFinale.com, Payton said,
“I know that prior to that, a year prior to that, I didn’t want to do it anymore. I had been offered an opportunity to do the Mahalia Jackson story and I wanted to do something else. And I think, like, four, three, four years prior to that I would go into ABC with my agent every year and we would ask for just another project, something else to do. I just wanted something else to do, just to energize me a little bit more, on the creative side. And so I wanted to leave before that and so at the end of the eighth season, which was my last contracted year — I think I might have had one of the longest contracts there — my contract was up…I felt stifled and like I said, if I had been able to do other projects… There was one time that they agreed to let me do another project and then the project got delayed and then when it was time to do it they said, “No, you can’t do it.” So, I just needed something extra to do, you know. How I explained it is, “A baker that loves to bake doesn’t want to stop baking. They just don’t always want to make chocolate cake or chocolate cookies. They want to try to do something else. Bake some bagels, do something else.” I never wanted to stop acting. I’ve been acting since I was six years old. It’s just that I was tired of doing that project, you know what I’m saying, I wanted to do something else.”
Reginald VelJohnson- Carl Winslow
Despite the fact that Facebook tried to claim that Reginald VelJohnson had passed away, this photo shoot proved that he’s alive and well. If you’re anything like me, you might be wondering where he got that surname VelJohnson from. It was a name he choose for himself by combining his middle and last name. He said he made the decision in an attempt to have a name that people would remember.
Bryton McClure — Richie
Bryton, now 31-years-old, has been working since he was 2. By the time he came to “Family Matters,” he was established having starred in a Michael Jackson commercial. He currently plays Devon Hamilton on CBS’ “The Young and The Restless,” a role for which he won a Daytime Emmy. Personally, Bryton has been married and divorced, though he and his former wife remain good friends.
Darius McCrary– Eddie Winslow
I feel like I don’t have to update you about Darius’ life. Karrine Steffans has done a pretty good job of that. What Steffans didn’t tell us is that in the years since “Family Matters,” McCrary was featured in a film with Robert De’Niro and provided a voice for Jazz in the 2009 Transformers film. Darius and Bryton’s paths crossed again as he also appeared on “The Young and the Restless” from 2009-2011.
Kellie Williams-Jackson — Laura Winslow
Kellie began acting because her father noticed that she was withdrawn and didn’t speak much. He put her in acting classes and the rest is history. After “Family Matters,” Kellie majored in Psychology at the University of California. She had a few roles here and there before she got married and had children, when she seemed to be focusing solely on her family. We saw Williams recently when she appeared on “Celebrity Wife Swap,” with CeCe Peniston.
Themla Hopkins- Aunt Rachel
What I found particularly interesting is that Thelma is a year older than her tv sister Jo Marie Payton in real life. (She’s 68.) Thelma has acted in other sitcoms pretty consistently since “Family Matters” ended. She did episodes here and there. She worked more consistently in the 2000-2006 sitcom “Half & Half” and then later, “Are We There Yet?” In her personal life, she often volunteers by caring for babies with HIV/AIDS.
Shawn Harrison- Waldo
After “Family Matters,” Shawn switched it up and started playing the effeminate hair stylist “Peaches” on “Girlfriends.” He’s also pretty active on social media and is known for his sarcasm and also for speaking out against issues of injustices in this country.
Jaleel White-Steve Urkel
Personally, I was surprised to see that Jaleel took part in this reunion. After all, he’s expressed resentment toward being solely associated with the show, even when he had clearly outgrown the role. After the show, he voiced Sonic for the series Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic (SatAM) and Sonic Underground. White attended UCLA where he graduated with a degree in tv and film. He’s popped up in several other places over the year, including the movie Dreamgirls, the series “Grown Ups,” “Half & Half,” and “Are We There Yet?” with Thelma Hopkins, “Psych,” “Survivor’s Remorse,” and “Atlanta.” Personally, he has one daughter from a previous relationship.