The name “Smollett” rings a bell for movie and music lovers, and where there are kings, there are kingmakers. The latter is true for Joel Smollett.
Joel Smollett was not famous, but through his children, he became popular. Joel was not in the limelight most of his life, but he is renowned as the pillar that supported and built the career of his famous children.
The name, Smollett, became a household name in Hollywood thanks to the man known as the patriarch of the Smollett family. Joel inspired and supported his children’s careers in the entertainment industry.
He built a close-knit family that supported each other’s dreams. Furthermore, Joel Smollet is the father of Jussie Smollet, best known for portraying Jamal Lyon in the multi-award-winning series Empire.
Who Is Joel Smollett?
Joel Smollett was born on October 8, 1956, an immigrant who migrated from Poland to America. Joel was a Jewish man who reportedly didn’t like being addressed as a “white” man. He was a cable splicer as well as a civil rights champion.
Joel Smollett’s father was Peter Smollett, a Polish Jew, while his mother was Molly Hirschenson, a lady of Russian descent. The famous actor’s father reportedly had one sibling, but his sibling’s identity remains unknown. Joel is best known as the patriarch of the Smollett family, and he is famous for his impact on the entertainment scene.
Although Joel was not an entertainer, he invested heavily in the entertainment industry through his children. After he immigrated to America, he met a beautiful African-American woman, Janet Smollett, during one of their civil rights campaigns, who would later become his wife and mother of his kids. Janet was born on November 27, 1952, and like her husband, she is also a civil rights activist.
Joel and Janet Smollett’s Family
Although there’s no information about the exact date the pair married, Joel and Janet have six children together. While some of the six children are actors, others are musicians and producers. However, they are all successful in their careers.
Joel Smollett was a loving father who dedicated his life to his children, and his efforts propelled their careers. He is remembered as a role model who groomed his children into the successful men and women they are today.
Meet Joel and Janet Smollett’s Children
As earlier stated, Joel Smollet and his wife have six children who are successful and famous in their chosen career paths. Notably, Joel’s children love working together and support each other’s careers. Meet the Smollets:
Jojo is Joel’s first-born son. He was on August 28, 1977, in California, US. He is a famous actor and movie producer who has starred in several movies, including The City of Roseanne and The Practice.
Jazz Smollett is the second child and first daughter of Joel and Janet Smollett. She was born on April 1, 1980. Like her brother, Jojo, she was born in California and grew up to become an actress and movie producer.
She graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She was married to Troy Wardwell, who was a music producer from 2012-2019. Jurnee also has a daughter called NylahJazz.
Jussie Smollett is the third child and second son of Joel and Janet. He was born on June 21, 1982, two years after the birth of his elder sister. Like his older siblings, Jussie also chose a career in the entertainment industry.
He grew up to become a singer, an actor, and a photographer. Jussie is arguably the most famous of the Smollett siblings. His handsome looks and incredible acting skills have captivated many fans.
Jussie landed a recording contract with Columbia Records, where he acted as Jamal Lyon on the famous TV series Empire. The movie was a significant hit, and Jussie gained popularity for his role. Unfortunately, he lost his father during the premiere of the series.
Jurnee is the fourth child and second daughter of Joel and Janet Smollett. She was born on October 1, 1986. Like her siblings, Jurnee’s acting career started when she was little. She made her TV debut when she featured alongside her siblings in the ABC comedy show On Our Own.
She rose to prominence for her roles in movies she starred in, such as Lovecraft County, True Blood, Bad Girls, Gridiron Gang, and Great Debtors. In 1998, Jussie won the Critic’s Choice Movie Award for Best Young Performer and the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture in 2008. She is an award-winning actress and activist who has starred in over forty films.
Jake is the fifth child and third son of Joel and Janet. He was born on July 29, 1989. He is also a successful actor who starred in movies such as Eve’s Bayou and The Middleman.
Jake has a massive online presence across all social media platforms. The successful actor is very active on social media and has many followers on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Aside from acting, Jake is an all-rounder, a celebrity chef, a television host, and a cookbook author.
Jacqui is the youngest child of the Smolletts. He is as talented and versatile as his other siblings. He was born on August 2, 1993, and also starred in the ABC comedy series, On Our Own, where he played the role of Jarreau Jerrico. Aside from acting, Jocqui has other projects he is running.
Furthermore, he is the CEO and founder of Hosted Incorporation. Unlike his siblings, Jocqui doesn’t like being in the spotlight. He is also a tech personnel, a real estate mogul, and a public speaker.
Joel Smollett’s Cause of Death
Joel Smollett died after battling cancer for a long time. His death had a significant impact on the family. It came as a shock to his children, who hoped he would beat cancer. The news of his death was first shared on social media.
Jussie wrote a tribute to his father on Instagram, where he referred to his father as a king who is also a source of inspiration to the family. Joel Smollet lived from October 8, 1956, to January 2015.
His wife and children loved him dearly. Since his death, his wife, Janet Smollett, has not been in any other relationship.
Joel Smollett is one of the amazing celebrity fathers whose dedication and passion for their children greatly fueled their success. Joel may be dead, but his legacy as the patriarch of the Smollett family lives on.