Joel Smollett – Wife (Janet Smollett) & Facts About Jussie Smollett’s Father

Joel Smollett may not be a known name in the movie and film industry but he is sure a successful man in the industry. He is not an actor but he has invested so much in the film industry through his children one of which is the multiple award-winning actor, Jussie Smollett who is best known as Jamal Lyon following his role in the critically acclaimed TV series, Empire. Jussie isn’t the only one from his family who is involved in the entertainment business, in fact, the entire Smollett family is.

Choosing a career is not often an easy task but when you have the likes of Joel Smollett as a father, then you are sure of making the best choice. We often hear of celebrities whose choice of career was hugely antagonized by their parents, like Katty Perry and Jennifer Lawrence, but the reverse seems to be the case with the Smolletts where not one or two but all the kids are a product of their father’s choice of career.

Despite his passing, the Smolletts will always be grateful they followed his guidelines. To know more about Joel Smollet, here are facts we have for you.

Joel Smollett’s Biography

Born on October 8, 1956, Joel Smollett was the son of Peter Smollett and Molly Hirschenson. He holds Polish and Russian nationality and belongs to Ashkenazi Jewish ethnicity. His grandparents are Dawley Levy and David Smollett. The Smollett family have their roots from Russia, Romania, and Poland but his grandparents were Roman Jewish immigrants. Not much is known about Joel’s early years, educational background and achievements but his wife Janet once mentioned that he pursued a modeling career. Additionally, he worked as a cable splicer before his death in 2015.

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Who is Joel Smollett’s Wife, Janet Smollett?

Joel Smollett married his wife Janet Smollett (née Harris), an African-American whom he met while campaigning for civil rights in the Bay Area. At that time, Janet was working with political activists Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. Although it is not clear when the two were officially married, they loved each other and were dedicated to raising their own kids well. Until his death in 2015, Joel and his wife Janet lived together happily without any rumors of their separation.

Joel Smollett
Joel Smollett with his wife and children- image source

Janet who is an American citizen was born on November 27, 1952, in New Orleans,  Louisiana. She once tutored with Julian Bond before becoming the leader of a civil rights group. Today, she is known as one of the founders of the superhero film, Black Panther. Joel and his wife came to the limelight after the launch of the family cookbook, titled The Family Table. The couple is blessed with six children namely Jake Smollett, Jojo Smollett, Jurnee Smollett, Jussie Smollett, Jazz Smollett and Jocqui Smollett. His family became popular after his six children starred in the ABC-aired TV sitcom, On Our Own.

Facts About Jussie Smollett’s Father- Joel Smollett

He is the guardian and King of the Smollett family

Joel Smollett is the kind of father who was there for his children from their early years to their adulthood. He not only provided and cared for his family but was also a key factor in their career. Having experienced the fame and financial strength associated with the show business, Joel was able to take his closeness to his children to wheedle his way to their choice of a career starting with his daughter, Jurnee Smollett who joined the modelling industry as an infant and was likened to a mix of Elizabeth Taylor and Diana Ross. Gracefully, his six children are all notable personalities in the entertainment industry.

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See Also: Leonard Francois – Biography, Facts About Naomi Osaka’s Father

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He Died of Cancer

Joel Smollett died on January 15, 2015, after a longtime battle with cancer. He died at the age of 58 and the news about his death was first shared by his actor son, Jussie Smollett. In his tribute to his father on his Instagram page, the Empire actor referred to his father as the family’s inspiration, king and Champ. Not only did he guide them on their path to their career successes, he also taught them to work and help each other.

Even after his death, the Smollett family members still do their thing together. A good example is the production company which Jussie, Jazz, and Jurnee started.

Joel Smollett’s Net Worth

Joel may not have gathered so much wealth for himself during his lifetime but following the success of his children, there is no doubt that he died a wealthy man. One of his celebrity daughters Jurnee Smollett is said to have an estimated net worth of $2 million which she garnered mostly from her acting career. Jussie and Joel Smollett also have an estimated net worth of $500 thousand, respectively. The family book which was published in 2018, serves as another source of income to Joel’s family. The book which contains recipes of delicious cuisine with a blend of incredible culture sells for $19.79 on Amazon.

Chika Udeh
Chika Udeh
Chika holds a B.A in English language/History and has over 5 years experience in content development and journalism. She loves playing with writing, wordsmiths, and storytelling in all its forms, and when she is not writing about famous people and events that matter, she is probably listening or dancing to some cool jams.

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