Joel Smollett: The Patriarch of the Smollett Family

Meet Joel Smollett, the esteemed patriarch of the renowned Smollett family.

As we delve into his life and legacy, we uncover a remarkable individual who left an indelible mark on his family and beyond.

Join us on a journey to explore the captivating story of Joel Smollett, a man cherished for his love and strength by those who knew him best.

Image of Joel Smollet
Joel Smollet | Photo courtesy Twitter

Who is Joel Smollet?

Joel Smollett: Cable splicer, civil rights activist, father of six talented kids in entertainment.

Born Oct 8, 1956, in Russia. Moved to the US as a teen.

He married Janet Harris, African American from New Orleans, in the late 1970s.

Raised kids in a bi-racial, Jewish home. Died on Jan 7, 2015, from cancer.

Is the Smollett Family Biracial?

The Smollett family: biracial – Joel Smollett, white and Jewish; Janet Harris, black and African American.

Kids identify as black and Jewish, embrace both cultures and share biracial experiences in the US.

Joel Smollett’s Career

Joel Smollett, a cable splicer, also championed social justice and human rights.

He supported civil rights, anti-apartheid, HIV/AIDS awareness, and LGBTQ+ rights, inspiring his kids to follow their dreams in art and activism.

A loving husband and devoted father, he cherished family time.

Joel Smollett’s Family

Joel Smollett and Janet Harris had six children:

  1. Jussie.
  2. Jurnee.
  3. Jake.
  4. Jojo.
  5. Jocqui.
  6. Jazz.

All of them pursued acting, music, or production.

Jussie, the third child, gained fame as Jamal Lyon in Empire and for a 2019 hate crime hoax.

Jurnee, the fourth child, appeared in Eve’s Bayou, The Great Debaters, Birds of Prey, and TV shows like Friday Night Lights, Underground, and Lovecraft Country.

Jake, the second child, acted in On Our Own, Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper, and The Middleman, and is a chef and cookbook author.

Jojo, the fifth child, acted in On Our Own, City of Angels, The Practice, and is a producer and writer.

Jocqui, the youngest child, acted in On Our Own, Moesha, The Parent ‘Hood, and is a software engineer and tech company founder.

Jazz, the oldest child, appeared in On Our Own, NYPD Blue, Grey’s Anatomy, and works as a producer and lifestyle show host.

Joel Smollett’s Family
Joel Smollett’s Family

Where Is the Smollett Family From?

The Smollett family has diverse roots.

Joel Smollett was born in Russia to Jewish parents with ancestors from Romania, Poland, and Russia.

Janet Harris was born in New Orleans to African American parents with ancestors from West Africa.

The siblings were born in various U.S. cities like NYC, Santa Rosa, LA, and Paramus due to their father’s work

Joel Smollett’s Wife

Joel Smollett wed Janet Harris in the late 1970s, meeting at a civil rights rally.

Their bond was strong, founded on love, respect, and shared values.

They supported each other’s dreams, raising children with care.

Their 33rd anniversary was in 2013. Janet Harris remained his partner until he passed in 2015

Image of Janet and Jake Michaelangelo Smollet
Janetand Jake Michaelangelo Smollet


Joel Smollett Cause of Death

Based on web search, Joel Smollett died of cancer at age 58 on January 7, 2015.

He bravely fought until the end and received top medical care.

The cancer type was undisclosed. Remembered as a loving father by his successful actor and singer children.

Joel Smollett’s Children

Joel Smollett had 6 kids with Janet Harris:

  1. Jussie (June 21, 1982)
  2. Jurnee (Oct 1, 1986)
  3. Jake (July 29, 1989)
  4. Jojo (Aug 28, 1990)
  5. Jocqui (Aug 2, 1993)
  6. Jazz (Apr 1, 1980)

<yoastmark class=


Names of Joel Smollett’s Children

The names of Joel Smollett’s children are:

  • Jussie Langston Mikha Smollett
  • Jurnee Diana Smollett
  • Jake Michaelangelo Smollett
  • Jojo Danquah Smollett
  • Jocqui Alexander Khari Smollett
  • Jazz Alma Kamaria Smollett

Who Is the Oldest?

The oldest child of Joel Smollett and Janet Harris is Jazz Smollett, who was born on April 1, 1980.

Joel Smollett’s Net Worth

Joel Smollett’s net worth isn’t publicly known, but his children made considerable wealth from entertainment.

  1. Jussie: $1.5M.
  2. Jurnee: $2M.
  3. Jake: $3M.
  4. Jojo: $2M.
  5. Jocqui: $500K.
  6. Jazz: $2M.


Joel Smollett, an extraordinary man, left a legacy of love, courage, and creativity.

He led the talented Smollett family in acting, singing, producing, and activism.

Married to Janet Harris for over 30 years, he had six children.

Although he passed away in 2015 from cancer, his spirit lives on through his family’s work.

Facts About Joel Smollett

Fact Description
Name Joel Smollett
Background Cable splicer, civil rights activist, father of six talented kids in entertainment
Birth Oct 8, 1956, in Russia, moved to the US as a teen
Marriage Late 1970s to Janet Harris, an African American from New Orleans
Family Bi-racial, Jewish home raising kids embracing both cultures
Death Jan 7, 2015, from cancer
Legacy Championed social justice, inspired kids in art and activism
Children Jussie, Jurnee, Jake, Jojo, Jocqui, Jazz (actors, singers, producers)
Family Roots Diverse: Jewish ancestry from Romania, Poland, Russia, African American roots from West Africa
Wife Janet Harris, a civil rights rally meeting, 33rd anniversary in 2013
Cause of Death Cancer, age 58
Oldest Child Jazz Smollett (Apr 1, 1980)
Children’s Net Worth Jussie: $1.5M, Jurnee: $2M, Jake: $3M, Jojo: $2M, Jocqui: $500K, Jazz: $2M
Legacy Love, courage, creativity, artistic achievements, and activism


Who is Joel Smollett and what does he do?

Smollett was a cable splicer.

What is Joel Smollett’s background?

He was born on October 8, 1956, in Santa Rosa, California.
Joel Smollett was of Ashkenazi Jewish and African American descent
How did Joel Smollett become a cable splicer?

There is no information available on how Joel Smollett became a cable splicer.

However, a cable splicer is a skilled technician who is responsible for installing, and repairing.

What was Joel Smollett’s role in the Smollett family?

Joel and his wife, Janet, raised their six children in a creative and artistic environment.