While the Winslows were one of the tightest sitcom families in television history, JoMarie Payton, who played the matriarchal Harriette Winslow on Family Matters, recently said the cast dealt with their fair share of turmoil behind the scenes.
via: New York Post
Payton — who played Harriette Baines Winslow on the wholesome sitcom from 1989 to 1997 — has alleged that Steve Urkel himself, Jaleel White, tried to get violent her during filming.
“There was one time he actually wanted to physically fight me,” the 71-year-old told Entertainment Tonight, claiming the former child star’s quick ascent into the spotlight affected his attitude on set.
She said the altercation occurred during the season nine episode “Original Gangsta Dawg,” in which White, now 45, also portrayed Urkel’s gangster cousin, OGD.
“[There was a scene where] I said we can’t do that, standards and practices will not let that pass, it’s not gonna happen,” Payton said. “He wanted to do it anyway … He was so mad, he started kicking and screaming and stuff.”
That’s when the “Proud Family” star revealed she “she walked off” the set. As she started to leave, she overheard White make a comment. She then asked costar Darius McCrary to clarify what White had stated.
“He said something about, ‘She must want to melee.’ I said, ‘What’s a melee?’ He said, ‘a fight.’ I turned around — if he wanna fight, I would,” she added. “Darius grabbed me. I was gonna whip his behind.”
However, Payton explained she understood that White was “just a kid” at the time and doesn’t give him “all the credit” for his actions.
Payton said, “I give some of those adults credit too. Letting him run wild and do whatever he wanted to do, thinking he can say what he wants to say, you know, and hurt people’s feelings and all that.”
White’s reps did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment about Payton’s accusations.
The character of Steve Urkel started to on the show as a supporting role. But his wacky clothes and sense of nerdy humor captivated audiences and he quickly became the main subject.
An episode of E!’s True Hollywood Story dropped last year in which several alums from the series touched upon tensions that arose when crowd favorite White was upgraded to a main character. Producers told their actors that the “dynamic was going to change” to make the sitcom more about Urkel and his antics.
“And we said ‘OK,’ ” Payton said in the documentary. “We weren’t happy about it. I think along the way it got to be a little resentful but it was just an adjustment that we had to make.”
“My arrival to ‘Family Matters’ was a rocky start at the beginning,” White stated. “They kind of had to accept that I was there. That was a process.”
But over time, the cast grew to like him and they “figured out that ‘if you do this and I do that, we win’ — that’s ultimately what evolved,’ he said.