Frequent readers of this site know we're not above posting the occasional "Before They Were Famous" article. Everybody starts somewhere, and who isn't interested in seeing Jon Hamm palling around with geriatric astronauts or Nicole Kidman hanging out with Australian bikers?
But what happens after the fame is gone? Emily Dickinson once said, “Fame is a fickle food upon a shifting plate,” and for so many actors, the cold, hard realization that you're not the center of attention anymore can be too much to bear.
Some people, though, have been able to forge second careers with their sense of humor intact. You probably remember Jaleel White as Steve Urkel, the uber-nerd of the hit TV show "Family Matters," whose catchphrases -- "Did I do that?" -- became part of the national lexicon from 1989-98. Since then, the actor has appeared in a number of television shows and movies ranging from award-winning ("Dreamgirls") to "Huh? What?" ("Miracle Dogs Too").
We've always rooted for White. Last year, when the viral video site Urlesque changed its entire site to "Urkelesque" for April Fools' Day, White videotaped himself going along with the gag rather than lashing out at the character that defined him. More importantly, he's distanced himself from Urkel, when you know he could've ridden that train via guest appearances and autograph signings into a steady, albeit pathetic, comfortable living.
But White has eschewed that role and is set to appear in the upcoming kids' film "Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer" alongside Heather Graham. Will it catapult him into A-list status? Probably not. But where most child actors who've reached insane levels of fame have turned to drugs and alcohol and ended up in more lineups than films, White's proven that there is life past a catchphrase. For some.