Steve Harvey is an American television host, actor, writer, producer, and comedian. He got his show business start in stand-up comedy. He performed on the world’s most lucrative stand-up comedy tour, but his career quickly grew into so much more.
He became one of the most beloved television hosts when he joined the cast of Family Feud. He wrote a New York Times bestselling book, and he had a number of his own talk shows. He is a force to be reckoned with and an icon who has been around for many years.
A Dive into His Childhood
Steve Harvey, whose full name is Broderick Stephen Harvey, was born in Welch, West Virginia, on January 17, 1957, the youngest of five children. When he was still a boy, his family picked up and moved to Cleveland, Ohio. This was where he would spend his childhood, growing up alongside his four older siblings.
This would be the place that would shape the comedian; where he would discover his passion and pursue his dreams. Harvey loved being a part of a big family and later he would create a large family of his own.
Growing Up and Sometimes Down
While Steve Harvey was raised in Cleveland, the “Rock and Roll Capital of the World,” he often returned to West Virginia to visit his grandfather. He loved his grandfather and the place he was born despite leaving at such an early age.
Harvey was a pretty disciplined, polite, and well-mannered child; after all, his mother was a Sunday School teacher. But Harvey always knew what he wanted out of life, and it did not involve following in his mother’s footsteps. He had big dreams of his own.
The School Assignment That Said It All
When Harvey was in sixth grade, his class was given an assignment by the teacher. They had to share what they wanted to be when they grew up. So he wrote down on a piece of paper that his dream was to be just like Bill Cosby.
At the time, Harvey had a speech impediment, one that made people doubt he would ever be a professional comedian. But Harvey had a very strong never-give-up attitude. “You have to dream big and believe that you will succeed,” was always a big mantra of his.
Memories from High School
Young Steve Harvey never stopped dreaming of becoming a TV personality. All throughout high school, he expressed this desire to his peers despite having a stammer. It was during his time at Glenville High School in 1974 that he earned the nickname ‘Va-Va-Voom.’ During a science presentation on volcanoes, he was unable to correctly pronounce the word.
As he stammered on the letter ‘V,’ his classmates found this extremely amusing, and he received a schoolwide nickname. Wherever he went, his stammer followed but it never dimmed his light or dissuaded his dreams because he was determined.
Attempting to Pursue Higher Education
After graduating from high school, Harvey was set on college. He wanted to pursue higher education before he began his journey to stardom. Even after all the name-calling back in high school, he was still determined to make it on TV.
He attended Kent State University but had to leave due to poor academic performance. Harvey ended up transferring to West Virginia University, where he joined the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. They are famous for their cardinal principles of manhood, scholarship, perseverance, and uplift. Oh, and Bill Cosby, his idol, used to be a member.
The Post-College Hustle
Graduating from college is a big accomplishment, but it doesn’t necessarily mean financial security. For Harvey, a young African American man in his early 20s, finding a job was hard. The opportunity he was looking for had not yet come calling so he did what he could to stay afloat.
He took on numerous odd jobs just to make ends meet. He worked as an insurance salesman, carpet cleaner, postman, and he even tried his hand at boxing. He would do anything to make a living until he could finally follow his dreams.
Hitting a Rough Patch
After Harvey finished college, while working a series of odd jobs in order to make some money, he looked for ways to focus on pursuing his dreams. He admitted in an interview with People magazine that at one point he was so low on money he lived out of his car.
He would shower in gas station bathrooms or swimming pool showers. He was homeless, looking for a job that would make him money and get him closer to becoming the TV personality he always dreamed of becoming.
The Road to Stardom
In 1985, Harvey was selling insurance and performing stand-up comedy in his free time at local comedy clubs. On October 8, he won the amateur night contest at the Hilarities Comedy Club, a local Cleveland, Ohio club. The winning performance included memories from his childhood. He took his life experiences, struggles, and hardships and found humor in them.
It is called observational humor and the audience found it thoroughly entertaining. He had a way with storytelling and punch lines that was subtle, relatable, and hilariously funny. This local award would be the jumpstart to his career.
Playing Shows on the Road
Harvey spent the next few years on the road, taking slots at any comedy club willing to book him for a performance. This ultimately gave him the space to groom his comedy skills because no one knew who he was and if he flopped it would quickly be forgotten.
His first big step was another award. He won a major comedy competition called the Johnnie Walker National Comedy Search. After that, he was picked up by a TV network to host the TV show Showtime at the Apollo.
Getting His Own Show
While working on Showtime at the Apollo on Fox, he was given his own series called The Steve Harvey Show. He worked on both shows at the same time for many years. Later, he collaborated with Cedric the Entertainer, an American actor and stand-up comedian.
Harvey and Cedric the Entertainer joined Bernie Mac and D.L. Hughley on the Kings of Comedy Tour. It was a brainstorming roadshow that quickly became a nationwide hit. By 1999, the tour became the highest-grossing comedy tour ever in the United States, bringing in over $19 million that year alone.
The Kings of Comedy
The Kings of Comedy Tour ran from 1997 to 1999. Many in the comedy industry did not even think the tour would make it a year, let alone two. Four African American comedians on the road had many doubting it would ever succeed.
Furthermore, when Steve Harvey was approached by promoter Walter Latham, he didn’t think it would work either, but he said yes anyway. To prove them all wrong, the tour was not only successful, but it was the highest-grossing comedy tour to this day. It raked in $18 million the first year and $19 million the second.
The Revolutionary Comedy Tour
The Kings of Comedy never stopped telling jokes no matter how politically incorrect their segments got. These four performers were all about sharing the reality of African American culture and life in the United States with the world.
The tour definitely had some controversial segments, but that is part of comedy and that was part of their mission. Their philosophy was that nothing was too far as long it was said as a joke. After all, it was a comedy tour so nothing profane was said in seriousness and the audience knew that.
The Original Kings of Comedy
This tour was so groundbreaking because it brought urban comedy to the mainstream. Everyone thought it would tank but the numbers kept rising and so did its national popularity. The show was such a huge hit, it was turned into a film.
On the last two nights of the tour, Spike Lee filmed segments from the shows. He featured stand-up comedy from each of the four performers and called it The Original Kings of Comedy. The film grossed $44 million once it hit the big screen in 2000.
The Hit Radio Show
A year later, after the Kings of Comedy tour, Harvey was given a syndicated radio show called ‘The Steve Harvey Morning Show.’ The show quickly became extremely popular, and it won several major radio awards. It is still around today and is broadcast from Los Angeles, playing for four hours daily.
The show features Steve Harvey and a variety of different comedians and commentators who sit around and have a chat on the radio. Harvey won two Marconi Awards for his radio show.
Harvey on Family Feud
Family Feud is an American television game show where two families compete to name the most popular answers to survey questions asked to Americans all across the country. The more questions the family answers right the bigger the winning cash prize. Harvey began hosting the show in 2010.
He initially did not want the job but since accepting the position he has increased the show’s ratings and surpassed all previous show hosts in number of consecutive tenures. He has become a cherished and valuable part of Family Feud and people stick around just to watch him perform.
Harvey on Celebrity Family Feud
Celebrity Family Feud is a spinoff from the hit ABC game show Family Feud. The difference here is that celebrity families compete against each other, and the money goes to charity. The winning celebrity family can donate up to $25,000 to a charity of their choice.
ABC announced the show in 2015 and asked Steve Harvey to host it as well. After all he had done for the ratings on Family Feud, the network knew Harvey was the perfect man for the job and he accepted. The show has aired 8 seasons so far.
His Last Stand-up Comedy Act
On August 2, 2012, Steve Harvey performed his last stand-up comedy act, closing out his 27- year stand-up career. He performed at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, a hotel and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip. It is the largest single hotel in the United States and Harvey performed a 2-hour sold-out show.
It was even broadcast live on pay-per-view. He left it all on stage making the audience roar with laughter and sob tears. He is a legendary comedian who has made a huge name for himself and although his career will continue, he will be missed by many in stand-up comedy.
Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man
In 2009, Steve Harvey published a nonfiction book called Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. In the novel, he lets women into the man’s mindset to help them better understand dating and relationships from the male perspective.
He once shared that the book is, essentially, advice he is leaving for his daughters. The book is funny yet honest in true Steve Harvey style. The book was a New York Times bestseller and has sold over 2 million copies worldwide. It did so well that it was revised and expanded for a rerelease.
The Host of Miss Universe
In 2015, Harvey was the host of the Miss Universe Pageant in Las Vegas. This was the first beauty pageant Harvey had ever hosted. After the competition was over it was time for him to finally announce the winner. He opened the envelope and mistakenly announced the first runner-up Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez, as the winner.
The real winner was Miss Philippines, Pia Wurtzback. Miss Colombia got on stage and received her crown only to find out that she was not actually the winner and that Harvey had made a mistake.
Fixing the Damage That Was Done
After the show, Harvey apologized profusely to both Miss Colombia and Miss Philippines. He tweeted Miss Philippines publicly apologizing for his error. His mistake must not have been that bad because he was asked back to host Miss Universe in 2016, this one taking place in the Philippines.
There, he announced to the Miss Universe organization that he was once again sorry for his mistake and apologized to the people of the Philippines for the incident. He returned for Miss Universe 2017 in Las Vegas, Miss Universe 2018 in Thailand, Miss Universe 2019 in Atlanta, and Miss Universe 2021 in Israel.
Steve Harvey the Talk Show
In 2012, Harvey syndicated his own daytime talk show called Steve Harvey. It ran for a total of five seasons, from 2012 to 2017, with a total of 920 episodes. The show was taped at the NBC Tower Studios in Chicago and produced by Endemol Shine North America.
It was exciting for Harvey to have his own talk show. He had gone on a stand-up comedy tour, hosted family game shows, and headlined a radio show, but his very own talk show was a huge accomplishment.
The End of an Era
In 2016, NBC announced that Steve Harvey would conclude its final season in 2017. After five strong seasons and multiple Emmys, it was time to close out the show. The show was such a success that it was concurrently announced that Harvey would be hosting another talk show called Steve, run by a different network.
Five new talk shows premiered in 2012: Steve Harvey, Katie, The Jeff Probst Show, The Ricki Lake Show, and The Trisha Goddard Show. Steve Harvey ranked second highest after Katie, with an average of 1.987 million viewers.
Is Steve Harvey Married?
Steve Harvey has been married three times. He is currently on his third marriage, this one to Marjorie Elaine Harvey. His first marriage was to Marcia Harvey in 1980. Together, they had twins named Brandi and Karli and a son named Broderick Harvey Jr. They got divorced in 1994.
Two years later, Harvey married Mary Shackelford and she gave birth to a son named Wynton. Their marriage lasted nine years but ultimately, they got divorced in 2005. His children may be from multiple mothers, but Harvey is definitely recreating the big family he had growing up.
Who Is Marjorie Elaine?
Marjorie Elaine, Steve Harvey’s third wife, is an African American fashion designer. She has a net worth of about $50 million. The couple first met in 1990 during one of Harvey’s shows in Memphis but they only started dating in 2005 before tying the knot in 2007.
Marjorie Elaine was married twice before Harvey. Her first marriage resulted in two children, Jason and Harvey. Her second marriage resulted in a son named Donnell Woods. When she got married to Harvey, he adopted all three children and became a father of seven.
They First Met at a Comedy Club
Harvey and Marjorie met during one of his stand-up comedy shows at a comedy club. The story goes, Marjorie was late for the show and when she came down to the front row to take her seat Harvey froze, stopped the show, and just stared at her.
She thought he was going to crack a joke or something and make her a part of the show but several moments passed and he didn’t speak. Then, everyone started looking around and Harvey returned to his senses and said, “Oh, I’m sorry. I don’t know who this is, but I’m gonna marry her.”
An Unforgettable Desert Proposal
Harvey proposed to his third wife in 2007 but the proposal details were kept under wraps for years. In 2014, he finally shared how he popped the question. On an episode of his show, he opened up to his viewers about the proposal.
He flew his future bride-to-be out to Cabo, Mexico, for a vacation. She thought this was just a regular vacation, never suspecting a thing. Then, on the first night, Harvey led her out into the desert where he had hidden a beautiful diamond ring. After she found it in the sand, he proposed, and the rest is history.
All About the Children
Steve Harvey not only has seven children, but he also has five grandchildren. Here is a breakdown of all his children and what they’ve been up to. Brandi Harvey is twins with Karli Harvey, and she is currently a motivational speaker, Chief Change Maker, and Executive Director of the Steve and Marjorie Foundation.
The foundation provides education enrichment, mentoring, life transformation skills, and global service initiatives for underprivileged youth to help foster the next generation. Her twin, Karli, is also a public speaker. She is married and has a son.
A Father of Seven
Harvey’s eldest son, Broderick Harvey Jr., owns his own clothing line. The fashion label is called Need Money Not Friends and features very laidback streetwear designs. He is also involved in charity, working closely with the Steve and Marjorie Foundation. Wynton Harvey, the next in line, is a photographer and lover of all things fashion.
Steve Harvey’s Stepchildren
Marjorie’s children have been fully adopted by Steve Harvey and they have been since the two got married. Harvey’s stepson, Jason, is the founder and CEO of a luxury women’s footwear company. He is married to a model and together they have three children named Noah, Rose, and Ezra.
Morgan Harvey Hawthorne, Harvey’s older stepdaughter, is an accomplished entrepreneur and mother. She married her college sweetheart, Kareem Hawthorne, and together they have a daughter named Elle. Kareem is a DJ, and his stage name is DJ Bruckup. The youngest stepdaughter is Lori. She is a widely known internet personality and fashion model. In her youth, she dated hip hop and rap legend Sean “Diddy” Combs.
Thanks to His Family
Throughout his career, no matter how big he got, Steve Harvey never talked about his success without mentioning his family. He attributes his success largely to his family. The support he received from his parents was a huge contributing factor to his career and he acknowledges that and gives them credit at every possible opportunity.
He shares that his father was always his biggest supporter and he taught Harvey to have a love of God and respect for others. Keeping his faith in God and being respectful allowed him to reach such immense levels of success.
His Father’s Undying Support
Jesse Harvey, Steve Harvey’s father, was a coal miner by profession, and he helped guide and motivate Steve throughout his childhood. He always supported his son and his dreams, never once believing they were out of reach.
Jesse encouraged his son to write down his dream of being on TV on a piece of paper and read it out loud every morning before going to school and every night before going to sleep. Steve Harvey grew up reciting his dream every morning and every night and eventually it came true.
His Mother’s Constant Strength
His mother, Eloise Vera Harvey, was the third child in a family of ten children. Throughout his life, his mother played an active role in the Trinidad Church and was a Sunday School teacher. His mother always loved and supported her son.
She was there for him and the two grew incredibly close, forming an unbreakable mother-son bond. At one point, when Harvey was homeless, he kept it a secret from his mother so as to not worry her. Tragically, she passed away from a stroke in 1997.
Cancel Culture Crushes Comedy
Steve Harvey was on a press tour for a new courtroom comedy show called Judge Steve Harvey that would air on ABC. He shared with reporters that he could never perform another stand-up comedy act without ending his career.
According to Harvey, cancel culture has destroyed comedy and due to content sensitivities, any stand-up act would be the last thing he did. In an interview he said, “We’re in the cancel culture now… Nobody can say anything he wants to. Chris Rock can’t, Kevin Hart can’t, Cedric the Entertainer can’t, D.L. Hughley can’t.”
Is Hollywood too PC for Comedy?
On his press tour for Judge Steve Harvey, the comedian shared that Hollywood has become too politically correct. He feels that every joke offends someone these days and that makes stand-up comedy a slippery slope.
He explained, “Every joke now, it hurts somebody’s feelings. What people don’t understand about comedians is that a joke has to be about something. It has to be about somebody. We can’t write jokes about puppies all the time.” Telling jokes about people and everyday human life is what makes comedy so funny and relatable, but with the state of politics today, Harvey feels censored.
He Never Imagined He Would Get This Far
Steve Harvey’s career has soared astronomically. He is in a place he never thought he’d be. When he was just a 10-year-old boy writing down his dreams on a piece of paper, little did he know this was where it would take him.
Harvey says he is living a life he didn’t even know existed. The 65-year-old comedian recently sported a white hoodie with the “AGELESS” across the front. Harvey shares that he hated the process that led to stardom but when he looks back on it, God was just preparing him for this.
A Very Uncomfortable Photo
On The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Steve Harvey was shown a very PDA-heavy photo of his daughter Lori and her boyfriend, Michael B. Jordan. Harvey was utterly shocked, and this was a very warranted response. No father is interested in seeing such a photo of his daughter.
He said to Ellen, “I’m very uncomfortable with that picture right there. I’m not really feeling that picture.” The photo was posted by Lori Harvey on her Instagram, and it showed the model sitting on her boyfriend’s lap with his hand draped across her thigh confirming their relationship.
A Father Keeps His Cool
Despite Ellen trying to provoke a negative or outlandish response from the comedian, he kept it cool and played it light. After his initial awkward reaction to the photo, he went on to talk about Lori and Michael’s wholesome relationship.
He shared that Michael spent the past two Christmases with the Harvey family and that he is a great gift giver. One Christmas, Michael B. Jordan tried so hard to impress the family that he brought Harvey a huge box with 100 cigars. And they were very rare and hard to get. Looks like he’s husband material!
He Feels Like Marjorie Freed Him
Harvey says that marrying Marjorie freed his soul and helped transform his career. Marjorie is a guiding force in his life, always offering a shoulder to lean on or a piece of advice. The peace she provides him is the reason his career has come this far.
Well, this peace has taken Harvey a long way. He is a creative and corporate genius and his ideas have formed into one huge business called Steve Harvey Global. The kid from Ohio who experienced homelessness would be blown away at the world he has created.
So Famous Yet So Humble
Very few people remain as genuine and as humble as Steve Harvey after reaching this level of stardom. He has an internal sense of gratitude that shines over everything he does; it fuels his humility and keeps him grounded.
He has been able to create so many powerful relationships due to his overall attitude and approach to life. He is one of the world’s most well-known stand-up comedians and talk show hosts and he has no plans of stopping. For Steve Harvey, retirement is nowhere in the near future.