Steve Harvey: Who Is He?
Steve Harvey is a radio and television show host who has also written romance books.
Steve Harvey began his career as a stand-up comedian. He went on to host Showtime at the Apollo, had his own WB sitcom, and was one of the four comedians featured in Spike Lee’s The Original Kings of Comedy.
In 2000, Harvey created a long-running radio show, the content of which was adapted into the best-selling relationship book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. He then had two daytime chat shows and is currently the host of the long-running game show Family Feud.
Early Years and Career
Broderick Steven Harvey was born on January 17, 1957, in Welch, West Virginia. He was the youngest of five children born to Eloise and Jesse Harvey, a coal miner who died from black lung disease in 2000.
Harvey’s family moved to Cleveland when he was young, and he graduated from Glenville High School in 1974 before returning to his native state to attend West Virginia University. Harvey spent his early twenties working a variety of professions after graduating from high school, including insurance salesman, postman, and even want tobe professional boxer, but none seemed to be his true calling.
Harvey eventually discovered that on stage, when he performed stand-up comedy for the first time in 1985. After polishing his act in local venues for several years, he was on the verge of breaking out at the end of the decade, reaching the finals of the Second Annual Johnnie Walker National Comedy Search in 1989.
‘The Steve Harvey Show’ and ‘Showtime at the Apollo’
Harvey’s career took off from there. He took over as presenter of Showtime at the Apollo, the iconic syndicated variety show taped at Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater, in 1993.
Harvey would stay on Showtime at the Apollo until 2000, but hosting the renowned show was far from his only responsibility.
He received his own sitcom, The Steve Harvey Show, on the nascent WB network in 1996. The Steve Harvey Show, one of the few programs to achieve any traction on the WB prior to the arrival of Dawson’s Creek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, had a passionate following among a predominantly African American audience and remained on the air until 2002.
The show was also important for initiating a fruitful professional collaboration between Harvey and a younger comic named Cedric the Entertainer, who portrayed Harvey’s best friend on the show and later joined him on a revolutionary national stand-up tour.
The Comedy King.
Harvey and Cedric the Entertainer joined Bernie Mac and D.L. Hughley on The Kings of Comedy, a four-man barnstorming touring show that became a surprising nationwide hit. The Kings of Comedy became the highest-earning comedy tour in the United States in 1999, grossing more than $19 million.
Harvey and his three sidekicks rose to national prominence after the release of Spike Lee’s 2000 documentary, The Original Kings of Comedy, which caught highlights of a two-night concert in North Carolina in front of a tremendously enthusiastic audience. Fans who saw the show on television felt the same way; the picture, which cost only $3 million to produce, grossed more than $38 million at the box office.
While Harvey’s appearance as the Kings of Comedy’s M.C. remains his most iconic performance, the comic leveraged the movie’s reputation as the foundation for a virtual one-man multimedia empire.
More film and television roles, including a radio show.
In the year 2000, he debuted The Steve Harvey Morning Show, a daily talk radio show. Originally broadcast only in Los Angeles and Dallas, the show gradually earned national syndication and is now shown on dozens of stations around the country on a daily basis. In 2007, Harvey was named the national Syndicated Personality/Show of the Year by Radio & Records magazine.
Harvey continued to engage in stand-up comedy and acting while transforming himself into a renowned radio personality. The Steve Harvey Show on the WB ended its six-year run in 2002, but Harvey quickly moved on to new endeavors.
From 2003 to 2005, he hosted Steve Harvey’s Big Time, a reality program competition that aired on the WB. He also made his big-screen debut in 2003’s The Fighting Temptations, before moving on to larger supporting roles in You Got Served (2004), Johnson Family Vacation (2004), and (as a voice actor) Racing Stripes (2005).
Harvey became a best-selling author of relationship guidance books in 2009. Harvey’s writings appeared to be founded on the broad premise that men are dogs and women should treat them as such, stemming from a segment on his radio show in which he offered forth delightfully frank counsel to women callers frustrated in their relationships with males.
While detractors criticized Harvey’s advise as a collection of exaggerated clichés, supporters embraced his honest, humorous approach to self-help for the lovelorn. Harvey’s first book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man (2009), and its sequel, Straight Talk, No Chaser (2010), both went on to become best-sellers, with the former eventually being adapted for the big screen as Think Like a Man in 2012.
Talk Shows and ‘Family Feud’
Harvey landed another iconic TV gig in 2010, when he took over as host of the venerable game show Family Feud.
Harvey found a very appealing niche in which he could show off his quick wit and test out new content on a national audience while simultaneously working with regular folks. “The producers are saying, ‘Wow, you really know how to treat everyday folks,’ and sure, because truly, I just acquired this money recently,” Harvey remarked at the time.
Steve Harvey, the TV celebrity, debuted his daytime talk show in 2012.
The show did well, and its host received many Daytime Emmy Awards as well as an NAACP Image Award. In 2017, Harvey ceased production and began hosting Steve, a new talk show that concentrated on celebrity guests rather than the human interest topics that had been a highlight of his former show.
‘Little Big Shots’ and Miss Universe Host
Harvey was chosen to host the Miss Universe event in Las Vegas in 2015. The show ended with a significant mishap when Harvey proclaimed Miss Colombia as the winner before correcting himself and announcing Miss Philippines the winner.
Despite the misunderstanding, Harvey returned to host Miss Universe the following year in the Philippines, as well as the 2017 and 2018 pageants.
Meanwhile, the TV personality has been selected host of another show, Little Big Shots. The show, which debuted on NBC in March 2016, featured children demonstrating their talents in a variety of disciplines such as music, dancing, and martial arts. Little Big Shots was promptly renewed for a second and subsequently a third season in 2017. However, in May 2019, it was revealed that Melissa McCarthy would take over as presenter of the show.
Personal and Family Life
Harvey, a born-again Christian, has been married three times. From his first marriage, he has twin daughters, Brandi and Karli, as well as a son, Broderick Jr., and a son, Wynton, from his second marriage. He likes to spend time with his vast, blended family (his current wife, Marjorie Bridge Harvey, whom he wed in 2007, brought three previous children of her own into their marriage). In addition, the comedian is the proud founder of The Steve Harvey Foundation, which provides mentorship programs for young men.
In 2010, Harvey told The New York Times about his emphasis on family and charity: “I’m 53 years old, I’m thinking about the duty of being a father and my listeners, and I’ve just arrived at a point where it has to be more than jokes. I know it sounds cheesy, but I’m starting to think about my life in terms of ‘What will people say about me?’ Do I just want it to be known that this person was the King of Comedy? That, however, is insufficient. I’ve been there and done that. I’m feeling compelled to do something worthwhile right now.”