Michael Jeter

Last updated
Michael Jeter
Michael Jeter at the 44th Emmy Awards cropped.jpg
Jeter at the 44th Emmy Awards in 1992
Robert Michael Jeter

(1952-08-26)August 26, 1952
DiedMarch 30, 2003(2003-03-30) (aged 50)
Nationality American
Alma mater Memphis State University
Years active1977–2003
Partner(s)Sean Blue
(1995–2003; Jeter's death)

Robert Michael Jeter ( /ˈtər/ ; August 26, 1952 – March 30, 2003) was an American actor. His television roles included Herman Stiles on the sitcom Evening Shade from 1990 until 1994 and Mr. Noodle's brother, Mister Noodle, on the Elmo's World segments of Sesame Street from 2000 until 2003. Jeter's film roles include Zelig , Tango & Cash , The Fisher King , Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit , Waterworld , Air Bud , Mouse Hunt , Patch Adams , The Green Mile , Jurassic Park III , Welcome to Collinwood , Open Range , and The Polar Express .


Early life

Jeter was born Robert Michael Jeter in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee on August 26, 1952. His mother, Virginia (née Raines; May 6, 1927 – May 21, 2019), was a housewife. His father, William Claud Jeter (March 10, 1922 – March 1, 2010), was a dentist. [1] Jeter had one brother, William, and four sisters, Virginia, Amanda, Emily, and Lori. [2] Jeter was a student at Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis) when his interests changed from medicine to acting. He performed in several plays and musicals at the Circuit Theatre and its sister theatre, the Playhouse on the Square, in midtown Memphis. He left Memphis to further pursue his stage career in Baltimore, Maryland.


Jeter's woebegone look, extreme flexibility, and high energy led Tommy Tune to cast him in the off-Broadway play Cloud 9 in 1981. [3] Much of his work specialized in playing eccentric, pretentious, or wimpy characters, as in The Fisher King , Waterworld , Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas , The Green Mile and Drop Zone . Occasionally, Jeter was able to stray away from these types of roles for more diverse characters like those he portrayed in Jurassic Park III , Air Bud , and Open Range . Jeter is perhaps most known for his role as convicted felon Eduard Delacroix in The Green Mile , a role for which he was nominated along with the rest of the cast for a Screen Actors Guild Award. He played Rudy in Patch Adams as well.

In The Fisher King Jeter portrayed "an unnamed homeless cabaret singer", and "shimmies across the screen with boundless confidence, turning what might have been a grotesque, or at least merely humorous, part into something noble, even indomitable... In a film unafraid of big acting, Jeter goes bigger than anyone." [4]

He also played Mr. Noodle's brother, Mister Noodle, on Sesame Street from 2000 to 2003. He appeared in an episode of Touched by an Angel in 1999 as Gus, an insurance salesman who arrives in Las Vegas in the episode "The Man Upstairs". [5] His last two appearances were in the films Open Range and The Polar Express . Both films were in post-production at the time of his death and, when released, contained a dedication to his memory. [6] [7] The season 35 premiere of Sesame Street, a special entitled "The Street We Live On", was similarly dedicated to Jeter.


In 1990, Jeter won a Tony Award for his performance in the Broadway musical Grand Hotel . [8] He won an Emmy Award in 1992 for his role in the television sitcom Evening Shade as math teacher and assistant football coach Herman Stiles. [9] He also received an Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama Desk Award, and the Clarence Derwent Prize. [10]

Personal life

Jeter was gay and met his partner, Sean Blue, in 1995; they were together until Jeter's death in 2003.

Jeter was HIV positive and disclosed his diagnosis in a 1997 interview on Entertainment Tonight. Despite this, he remained healthy for many years. [11] Jeter also announced while accepting his 1990 Tony that he recovered from substance abuse. [12]


On March 30, 2003, Jeter was found dead by Blue in his home in Hollywood Hills, California. He was 50. [13] Blue said that Jeter died of complications after an epileptic seizure. Michael Jeter was cremated, and his ashes were given to Blue. [14]



1979 Hair Woodrow Sheldon
1981 Ragtime Special Reporter
1982 Soup for One Mr. Kelp
1983 Zelig Freshman #2
1986 The Money Pit Arnie
1989 Dead Bang Dr. Alexander Krantz
Tango & Cash Floyd Skinner
1990Just Like in the MoviesVernon
Miller's Crossing Adolph
1991 The Fisher King Homeless Cabaret Singer
1993 Bank Robber Night Clerk #1
Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit Father Ignatius
1994 Drop Zone Earl Leedy
1995 Waterworld Gregor
1997 Air Bud Norm Snively
Mouse Hunt Quincy Thorpe
1998 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Dr. L.Ron Bumquistdrug expert / guest speaker
The Naked Man 'Sticks' Varona
Thursday Dr. Jarvis
Zack and RebaOras
Patch Adams Rudy
1999 True Crime Dale Porterhouse
Jakob the Liar Avron
The Green Mile Eduard Delacroix
2000 South of Heaven, West of Hell Uncle Jude
The Gift Gerald Weems
2001 Jurassic Park III Udesky
2002 Welcome to Collinwood 'Toto'
2003 Open Range PercyPosthumous release
2004 The Polar Express Smokey / SteamerMotion-capture only
Posthumous release; Final film role


1979 My Old Man George GardnerTelevision movie
1980 Another World Arnie GalloUnknown episodes
From Here to Eternity Private RidgleyUnknown episodes
Lou Grant Max GaltEpisode: "Dogs"
1981Alice at the PalaceCaterpillar / DormouseTelevision movie
1986 Night Court Confessing CrookEpisode: "The Night Off"
1987 Designing Women Calvin KleinEpisode: "Old Spouses Never Die – Part 1"
1988 Crime Story Senator Michael GaspariEpisode: "The Hearings"
Hothouse Dr. Art Makter7 episodes
1990–1994 Evening Shade Herman Stiles98 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Comedy Series (1991–93)
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (1991, 1993)
1993–1995 Picket Fences Peter Lebeck3 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
1993 Tales of the City Carson Callas3 episodes
Gypsy GoldstoneTelevision movie
1994 Aladdin Runtar (voice)Episode: "StinkerBelle"
1995 Chicago Hope Bob RyanEpisode: "A Coupla Stiffs"
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
1996 Dream On Dr. EnochEpisode: "Finale with a Vengeance"
Suddenly Susan Lawrence RosewoodEpisode: "Dr. No"
Mrs. Santa Claus ArvoTelevision movie
The Boys Next Door Arnold WigginsTelevision movie
1997 Duckman Dr. William Blay (voice)Episode: "Ajax & Ajaxer"
Second Noah The Chicken ManEpisode: "Diving In"
Murphy Brown VicEpisode: "You Don't Know Jackal"
Johnny Bravo Lawrence The Camel (voice)Episode: "Blarney Buddies/Over the Hump/Johnny Meets Farrah Fawcett"
1998–1999 The Wild Thornberrys Biederman (voice)4 episodes
1998 Veronica's Closet Edwin MurloffEpisode: "Veronica's Blackout"
The Ransom of Red ChiefBill DriscollTelevision movie
1999 Touched by an Angel Gus ZimmermanEpisode: "The Man Upstairs"
2000–2003 Sesame Street Mr. Noodle's Brother, Mister Noodle Elmo's World segments
2002 Taken William JeffriesEpisode: "Taken"
Hey Arnold! Nate Horowitz (voice)Episode: "Gerald's Game/The Fishing Trip"

Theater work

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Denzel Washington</span> American actor, director, and producer

Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. is an American actor, director, and producer. Known for his performances on the screen and stage, he has been described as an actor who reconfigured "the concept of classic movie stardom". He is also known for his frequent collaborations with directors Spike Lee, Antoine Fuqua, and Tony Scott. Throughout his career spanning over four decades, Washington has received numerous accolades, including a Tony Award, two Academy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards and two Silver Bears. In 2016, he received the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2020, The New York Times named him the greatest actor of the 21st century. In 2022, Washington received the Presidential Medal of Freedom bestowed upon him by President Joe Biden.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lynne Thigpen</span> American actress (1948-2003)

Cherlynne Theresa Thigpen was an American actress of stage and screen. She was known for her role as "The Chief" of ACME Crimenet in the game show Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and various spinoffs, and for her role as "Luna" in the Playhouse Disney children's series Bear in the Big Blue House. For her varied television work, Thigpen was nominated for six Daytime Emmy Awards. She won a Tony Award in 1997 for portraying Dr. Judith Kaufman in An American Daughter, and also played Ella Farmer on The District (2000–2003).

Mr. Noodle Member of Elmos World

Mr. Noodle and his siblings – – are characters who appear in the "Elmo's World" segments during the educational children's television program Sesame Street. Mr. Noodle was played by Broadway actor Bill Irwin, who had previously worked with Arlene Sherman, executive producer of Sesame Street and co-creator of "Elmo's World", in short films for the program.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Julia Stiles</span> American actress (born 1981)

Julia O'Hara Stiles is an American actress. Born and raised in New York City, Stiles began acting at the age of 11 as part of New York's La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club. Her film debut was a small role in ILove You, I Love You Not (1996), followed by a lead role in Wicked (1998) for which she received the Karlovy Vary Film Festival Award for Best Actress. She rose to prominence with leading roles in teen films such as 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), Down to You (2000), and Save the Last Dance (2001). Her accolades include an NBR Award, a CFCA Award, a Gold Derby Award, a Teen Choice Award and two MTV Movie Awards, as well as Satellite Award, Gotham Award, Golden Globe Award, and Emmy Award nominations.

Savion Glover American dancer, actor, and choreographer

Savion Glover is an American tap dancer, actor, and choreographer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Neil Patrick Harris</span> American actor (born 1973)

Neil Patrick Harris is an American actor, singer, writer, producer, and television host. Primarily known for his comedic television roles and dramatic and musical stage roles, he has received multiple accolades throughout his career, including a Tony Award, five Primetime Emmy Awards, and nominations for a Grammy Award and three Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Elmo's World is a segment that is shown at the end of the American children's television program Sesame Street. It premiered on November 16, 1998, as part of a broader structural change to the show. It originally lasted fifteen minutes at the end of each episode. The segment ran until 2009, and then returned in 2017. The segment was designed to appeal to younger viewers and to increase ratings, which had fallen in the past decade. The segment is presented from the perspective of a three-year-old child as represented by its host, the Muppet Elmo, performed by Kevin Clash in the original series and Ryan Dillon in the 2017 reboot.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bill Irwin</span> American actor, clown, and comedian

William Mills Irwin is an American actor, clown, and comedian. He began as a vaudeville-style stage performer and has been noted for his contribution to the renaissance of American circus during the 1970s. He has made a number of appearances on film and television, and he won a Tony Award for his role in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? on Broadway. He is also known as Mr. Noodle on the Sesame Street segment Elmo's World, has appeared in the Sesame Street film short Does Air Move Things?, regularly appeared as a therapist on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and had a recurring role as "The Dick & Jane Killer" on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. From 2017 to 2019, he appeared as Cary Loudermilk on the FX television series Legion.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alaina Reed Hall</span> Actress and singer

Alaina Reed Hall was an American actress and singer best known for her roles as Olivia Robinson, Gordon's younger sister, on the PBS children's television series Sesame Street, and as Rose Lee Holloway on the NBC sitcom 227.

John Nicholas Tartaglia is an American actor and puppeteer.

Carlo Alban is an Ecuadorian actor, best known as "Carlo" from Sesame Street (1993–98). He played the role of Luis "McGrady" Gallego on Prison Break (2007–08). He has since gone on to perform in a variety of mediums, including plays and television shows.

Douglas Hodge is an English actor, director, and musician who trained for the stage at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He is a member of the council of National Youth Theatre for which in 1989, he co-wrote Pacha Mama's Blessing about the Amazon rain forests staged at the Almeida Theatre.

Santino Fontana is an American actor and singer. He has received a Tony Award, two Drama Desk Awards, an Outer Critics Circle Award, Lortel Award, Obie Award, and Clarence Derwent Award in a mix of straight plays and musicals. A two-time Tony Award nominee and three-time Drama Desk Award nominee, Fontana won the 2019 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical, Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical, and Outer Critics Circle Award for his lead performance as Michael Dorsey in the stage adaptation of Tootsie.

Roy Dana Call was an American film and television actor. He appeared in several films including 48 Hrs. (1982), Brewster's Millions (1985), At Close Range (1986), No Man's Land (1987), Colors (1988), Born on the Fourth of July (1989), Young Guns II (1990), State of Grace (1990), Waterworld (1995), Murder by Numbers (2002), Babel (2006), and Into the Wild (2007).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">James Earl Jones</span> American actor (born 1931)

James Earl Jones is an American actor. He has been described as "one of America's most distinguished and versatile" actors for his performances in film, television, and theater, and "one of the greatest actors in American history". With a career spanning six decades, Jones is among the few performers awarded an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony (EGOT). Jones's voice has been praised as a "a stirring basso profondo that has lent gravel and gravitas" to his projects, including live-action acting, voice acting, and commercial voice-overs.

A wide variety of characters have appeared on the American children's television series Sesame Street. Many of the characters are Muppets, which are puppets made in Jim Henson's distinctive puppet-creation style. Most of the non-Muppet characters are human characters, but there are many characters that are animated.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bill Pullman</span> American actor

William Pullman is an American actor. After graduating with a Master of Fine Arts degree in theater, he was an adjunct professor at Montana State University before deciding to pursue acting. He made his film debut in Ruthless People (1986), and starred in Spaceballs (1987), The Accidental Tourist (1988), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), While You Were Sleeping (1995), Casper (1995), Independence Day (1996), Lost Highway (1997), and Lake Placid (1999). He has appeared frequently on television, usually in TV films. Starting in the 2000s he has also acted in miniseries and regular series, including starring roles in 1600 Penn (2012–13) and The Sinner (2017–2021). In 2021, he had a recurring role in the miniseries Halston.

Joseph Mazzarino is an American actor, puppeteer, writer and director. He is best known for his roles on Sesame Street as Murray Monster, Stinky the Stinkweed and other Muppets, and being Head Writer and Director on Sesame Street, winning 22 Emmy Awards for his work.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Christopher Jackson (actor)</span> American actor (born 1975)

Christopher Neal Jackson is an American actor, singer, musician, and composer. He began his career in 1995 starring in the Off-Broadway musical Time and the Wind by composer Galt MacDermot at the age of 20. He made his Broadway debut in 1997 as an ensemble member in the original Broadway cast of Disney's The Lion King. He remained with the show for several years, ultimately taking over the role of Simba. He went on to perform leading roles in several more Broadway musicals and plays, including After Midnight, Bronx Bombers, Holler If Ya Hear Me, and Memphis. He drew critical acclaim in several projects with Lin-Manuel Miranda: originating the roles of Benny in In the Heights and George Washington in the smash hit Hamilton. For the latter role he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. He also collaborated with Miranda on the Disney film Moana in which he provides the singing voice of Chief Tui. His other film work includes secondary roles in After.Life and Tracers.


  1. "William Claude Jeter (1943)". University of Tennessee. 10 March 2010. Archived from the original on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  2. "Michael Jeter, 50, Dies; Won Acting Prizes". The New York Times . 2 April 2003. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  3. "Cloud 9". Lortel Archives. Archived from the original on 2014-02-28. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  4. Koresky, Michael. "Michael's Turn: Michael Jeter in The Fisher King". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved Feb 2, 2021.
  5. "Touched By An Angel Episode 516: "The Man Upstairs"". Touched.com. 1999-02-21. Archived from the original on 2012-12-03. Retrieved 2013-02-23.
  6. Rooney, David (24 October 2004). "Review: 'The Polar Express'". Variety . variety.com. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  7. Open Range film credits.
  8. "Michael Jeter: Biography". MSN Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  9. "'Sesame Street' actor Michael Jeter dies". United Press International, Inc. Los Angeles. 1 April 2003. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  10. Michael Jeter, 50; 'Mr. Noodle' on Sesame Street by Myrna Oliver, Times Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, April 1, 2003.
  11. The New York Times (6 December 1999). "Healthy Despite His Hiv, Jeter Says It's Nothing To Hide". Sun Sentinel . Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  12. Ferber, Lawrence (May 13, 2003). "In memoriam. Michael Jeter". The Advocate . Here Publishing (889): 62. ISSN   0001-8996.
  13. Cosgrove-Mather, Bootie (August 31, 2004). "Actor Michael Jeter Dead At 52". CBS News . CBSnews.com. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  14. "Corrections". The Advocate. Here. 17 September 2004. p. 6. Retrieved 2014-02-28.