Joel Smollett Short Bio

Born under the zodiac sign of Libra on 8 October 1956 in the USA, Joel Smollett was best known as the father of Jussie, Jazz and Jojo Smollett. He died at the age of 58, which his family of eight took hard. Joel was of Jewish, Russian and Polish ancestry – he came to America as an immigrant, and his children grew up in a bi-racial environment. “We’re a very close family, a functioning family,” his son Jussie said. Besides that, he expressed his immense love and appreciation for his family and the way they treated him, saying that no one has ever loved him in spite of who he is, but for exactly who he is.

Posted by Zechariah Israel on Saturday, February 23, 2019

Relationship Status

Joel married Janet in the late 1970s – the couple went on to have six kids, most of whom embarked on a career in the world of entertainment– his kids starred in “On Our Own”, a ‘90s sitcom series broadcast on ABC. Sadly, on 7 January 2015, Smollett died after a long battle with cancer. His children took to social media to inform their friends and supporters, and many people offered their prayers and thoughts to the family. His son Jussie shared a photo of himself and his father, adding “My family lost our king but we gained a righteous angel.

You showed the deepest strength and dignity until your very last breath.”

Son Jussie Smollett

Justin “Jussie” Smollett was born on 21 June 1982 in Santa Rosa, California, USA under the Cancer sign, and is best recognized for his portrayal of a gay black man, Jamal in “Empire” as well as for his work on “Alien: Covenant” and “Marshall.” He is the third of six children, and has three brothers and two sisters. Sadly, his father was absent for a large portion of Jussie’s life, but they were on good terms later on, and grew fond of each other.

Jussie Smollett

Justin was a student of Paramus Catholic High School in New Jersey, and grew up in a Christian Catholic environment. However, he told his parents he was gay at the age of 19, which they apparently took well.

Jussie Smollett Career

Smollett made his acting debut in 1991 in “A Little Piece of Heaven”, and followed by appearing in “The Mighty Ducks” as Terry Hall – the movie follows the story of a Minnesota lawyer who has to coach a hockey youth group as a part of his community service.

In 1993, Jussie provided voice recordings for “Cro” and remained in that project for a year. In 1994, he landed the role of Jesse Jerrico in TV series “On Our Own”, appearing alongside his siblings. In 2012, the audience was able to see Jussie in “The Skinny” and “The Mindy Project”, being a guest star in the latter. He then had some smaller roles in “Ask Me Anything” and “Mariah Carey: Infinity”. In 2015, he made his big breakthrough, when he got the part of Jamal Lyon in critically acclaimed TV series “Empire”, which revolves around a man who chooses the successor of his financial empire from his three sons.

As of 2017, the actor portrayed Ricks in “Alien: Covenant”. Overall, Jussie has had 21 acting gigs and in addition co-wrote two songs featured on the soundtrack of “Empire”.

Son Jojo Smollett

Joel’s first son, Jojo was born on 28 August 1977 in New York and is an actor and producer, known for his work on “The Practice” and “Last Breeze of Summer”. He has had six acting gigs, including the previously mentioned “On Our Own”.

Joel’s daughter Jazz is also active in acting and producing – she is the eldest sister in the family, and would reportedly often help her family with her siblings.


Created by Danny Strong and Lee Daniels and broadcast on Fox, “Empire” is a musical drama series set in New York, revolving around the wealthy Lyon family, and their patriarch deciding on his heir. The pilot episode was watched by 10 million people, and the last episode of the season by 17 million. In early 2019, the series was renewed for a sixth and final season, eventually premiering on 24 September.

Besides attracting attention for its interesting plot, “Empire” has been nominated for and won numerous awards, such as Golden Globe, AFI and BET.

Jussie Smollett Controversy

Smollett was the center of a controversy when he filed a police report stating that he got a letter of “threatening language”, racial and homophobic slur and crushed Tylenol. In early 2019 he reported being attacked by two homophobic and racist men, who threw an unknown chemical substance on him.

After the incident the actor was hospitalized, however, in the upcoming weeks, it was revealed that the attack was staged as Smollett believed his character was going to be written out of “Empire”, and wanted to ensure his place in the spotlight. The event resulted in Jussie being indicted for filing a false police report, which could result in up to three years in prison. To conclude, in late 2019, a Chicago judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit against the actor, who might end up paying a $130,000 fine.


Benjy is currently a reporter for BiographyPedia based in Adelaide, Australia. Prior to joining BiographyPedia in July 2019, he was a Bizarre TV reporter and theatre critic at TheSun. Benjy has also written for DailyMail and TMZ. Benjy studied journalism at Goldsmiths University of London, graduating in 2009. You can contact him at [email protected]

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