Michael Jeter

Michael Jeter

Jeter in 1996
Born (1952-08-26)August 26, 1952
Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, U.S.
Died March 30, 2003(2003-03-30) (aged 50)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Heart attack
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater Memphis State University
Occupation Actor
Years active 1979–2003
Home town Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Partner(s) Sean Blue (1995–2003)

Michael Jeter (August 26, 1952 – March 30, 2003) was an Emmy Award-winning American actor of film, stage, and television. His television roles include Herman Stiles on Evening Shade from 1990 until 1994 and Mr. Noodle's brother, Mr. Noodle on Elmo's World (Sesame Street) from 2000 until 2003. Jeter's film roles include Zelig, The Fisher King, Waterworld, Air Bud, Patch Adams, The Green Mile, Jurassic Park III, and The Polar Express.

Early life

Jeter was born in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee on August 26, 1952. His mother, Virginia (née Raines; May 6, 1927), 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 Larie.[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, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Drop Zone. Occasionally, Jeter was able to stay away from these types of roles for more diverse characters like those he portrayed in Jurassic Park III, Air Bud and Open Range. Perhaps the most enduring role he starred in on the big screen was when he starred in the classic movie 'Green Mile' and was nominated along with others on the cast for a Screen Actors Guild award.

He was also a favorite with younger audiences in his role as Mr. Noodle's brother, Mr. Noodle on Sesame Street from 1999 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".[4] His last two appearances were in the films The Polar Express and Open Range. Both films were in post-production at the time of his death and, when released, contained a dedication to his memory.[5][6]


Also, Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama Desk Award, and the Clarence Derwent Prize.[8]

Personal life

Jeter was openly gay and met his partner, Sean Blue, in 1995; they were together from 1995 until Jeter's death in 2003.[9]


On March 30, 2003, Jeter was found dead in his Hollywood home at age 50.[10] Although he was HIV positive, he had been in good health for many years. His partner, Sean Blue, stated publicly that Jeter died of a heart attack after suffering an epileptic seizure.[11]



Year Title Role Notes
1979 My Old Man George Gardner Television movie
1979 Hair Sheldon
1981 Ragtime Special reporter
1981 Alice at the Palace Caterpillar / Dormouse Television movie
1982 Soup for One Mr. Kelp
1983 Zelig Freshman #2
1986 The Money Pit Arnie
1989 Dead Bang Dr. Krantz
1989 Tango & Cash Skinner
1990 Miller's Crossing Adolph
1990 Just Like in the Movies Vernon
1991 The Fisher King Homeless Cabaret Singer
1993 Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit Father Ignatius
1993 Bank Robber Night Clerk
1993 Gypsy Goldstone Television movie
1994 Drop Zone Earl Leedy
1995 Waterworld Old Gregor
1996 Mrs. Santa Claus Arvo Television movie
1996 The Boys Next Door Arnold Television movie
1997 Air Bud Norm Snively
1997 Mouse Hunt Quincy Thorpe
1998 The Naked Man Sticks
1998 The Ransom of Red Chief Bill Driscoll Television movie
1998 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas L. Ron Bumquist
1998 Thursday Dr. Jarvis
1998 Patch Adams Rudy
1998 Zack and Reba Oras Television movie
1999 True Crime Dale
1999 Jakob the Liar Avron
1999 The Green Mile Eduard 'Del' Delacroix Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2000 The Gift Gerald Weems
2000 South of Heaven, West of Hell Uncle Jude
2001 Jurassic Park III Udesky
2002 Welcome to Collinwood Toto
2003 Open Range Percy Released posthumously
2004 The Polar Express Smokey and Steamer Released posthumously


Year Title Role Notes
1980 From Here to Eternity Pvt. Ridgley Unknown episodes
1980 Lou Grant Max Galt Episode: "Dogs"
1986 Night Court Unknown Episode: "The Night Off"
1987 Designing Women Calvin Klein Episode: "Old Spouses Never Die – Part 1"
1988 Crime Story Senator Michael Gaspari Episode: "The Hearings"
1988 Hothouse Dr. Art Makter 7 episodes
1990–1994 Evening Shade Herman Stiles 98 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 Lebeck 3 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
1993 Tales of the City Carson Callas 3 episodes
1994 Aladdin Runtar voice role
Episode: "StinkerBelle"
1995 Chicago Hope Bob Ryan Episode: "A Coupla Stiffs"
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
1996 Dream On Dr. Enoch Episode: "Finale with a Vengeance"
1996 Suddenly Susan Lawrence Rosewood Episode: "Dr. No"
1997 Duckman Dr. William Blay voice role
Episode: "Ajax & Ajaxer"
1997 Second Noah The Chicken Man Episode: "Diving In"
1997 Murphy Brown Vic Episode: "You Don't Know Jackal"
1997 Johnny Bravo Lawrence the Camel voice role
Episode: "Blarney Buddies/Over the Hump/Johnny Meets Farrah Fawcett"
1998–1999 The Wild Thornberrys Biederman voice role
4 episodes
1998 Veronica's Closet Edwin Murloff Episode: "Veronica's Blackout"
1999 Touched by an Angel Gus Zimmerman Episode: "The Man Upstairs"
2000–2003 Sesame Street Mr. Noodle's brother, Mr. Noodle Elmo's World segments
2002 Taken William Jeffries Episode: "Taken"
2002 Hey Arnold! Nate Horowitz voice role
Episode: "Gerald's Game/The Fishing Trip"

Theater work


  1. "William Claude Jeter (1943)". University of Tennessee. 10 March 2010. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  2. "Michael Jeter, 50, Dies; Won Acting Prizes". The New York Times. NYTimes.com. 2 April 2003. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  3. "Cloud 9". Lortel Archives. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  4. "Touched By An Angel Episode 516: "The Man Upstairs"". Touched.com. 1999-02-21. Retrieved 2013-02-23.
  5. Rooney, David (24 October 2004). "Review: 'The Polar Express'". Variety. variety.com. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  6. Open Range film credits.
  7. "Michael Jeter: Biography". MSN Entertainment. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  8. Michael Jeter, 50; 'Mr. Noodle' on Sesame Street by Myrna Oliver, Times Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, April 1, 2003.
  9. https://books.google.com/books?id=2mQEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA62&lpg=PA62&dq=Sean+Blue+and+Michael+Jeter&source=bl&ots=kLMdqSW1jX&sig=4po7dTtXnzRdRuHSlfIQIWAWvtw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiKupGKpfjKAhWKOz4KHTnGBvMQ6AEIpQEwHw#v=onepage&q=Sean%20Blue%20and%20Michael%20Jeter&f=false
  10. Cosgrove-Mather, Bootie (April 1, 2003). "Actor Michael Jeter Dead At 51". CBS News. CBSnews.com. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  11. "Corrections". The Advocate. 17 February 2004. p. 6. Retrieved 2014-02-28.

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