Meet Joel Smollett: Father to Six Successful Children Who Are Entertainers

Joel Smollett is a legendary celebrity father who became famous through his celebrity children. He has six children and all of them are doing well for themselves, mostly in the entertainment industry.

Although he died in 2015, his name is still mentioned today through his children who are making waves in their careers and for the role he played in their lives. 

And nine years down the line, the public is still curious to know more about how he lived his life. So, who’s Joel Smollett?

In this guide post, I’ll be taking you through the early life of Jussie Smollett’s dad, his career, net worth, and family. Ultimately, you’ll know about his children and the cause of his death.

Joel Smollett’s Biography 

Joel Smollett holding his child

Joel Smollett is of Jewish descent, born on the 8th of October 1956, and passed away on January 7, 2015. He was born in Russia and had his early years in Poland before his family moved to the United States of America and settled there.

He was born to Molly Hirschenson, who was an American-African, and Peter Smollett, a Russian-Polish Jew.

Joel worked as a cable splicer, raising six children during his days. Also, he was a civil rights activist, who fought for the establishment of civil rights in the US.

It was during one of his campaigns that he met his wife, Janet Smollett. The two got married and gave birth to four boys and two girls.

Although not much is known about his early days, including his education, it’s known that he loved art, especially music. 

According to NYTimes, Jussie Smollett, Joel’s third son, had shared how singing was part of their family ritual growing up.

Joel lived to be 58 years old before succumbing to cancer in 2015. 

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Joel Smollett was a cable splicer when he was alive. After moving to the United States, he started work as a cable splicer before working his way to become an electrician.

Additionally, he was a passionate civil rights activist, despite facing racial difficulties in the United States. His activism influenced his children who took up advocacy for various political and social causes.

What Is Joel Smollett’s Net Worth?

There’s no information available about the net worth of Joel Smollett.

Meet Joel Smollett’s Family

Joel Smollett with his family

Joel Smollett is the father of six children: Jojo, Jazz, Jussie, Jurnee, Jake, and Jocqui Smollett. Their mother is Janet Smollet, a passionate activist and advocate.

The unique family has their first names starting with the letter J.

Joel and his family are great activists. It started with him meeting his wife, Janet Smollett, during one of his civil rights campaigns.

Janet is an African-American, born on the 27th of November, 1952. Apart from being well-known as the matriarch of the Smollett family, she’s also a passionate activist.

Her activism led her to march alongside well-known political activist, philosopher, and author, Angela Davis, and also members of the Black Panther Party.

Joel and Janet had quickly hit it off when they met and got married, giving birth to six children who also turned out to be passionate activists like their parents besides their careers in the entertainment industry and passion for tech.

Meet Joel Smollett’s children

Joel Smollett’s children with their mother

Joel Smollett’s children are Jojo, Jazz, Jussie, Jurnee, Jake, and Jocqui Smollett.

Jojo Smollet, the first of the children, is an actor and producer, born on August 28th, 1977. He started his acting career in the 90s and has starred in movies like City of Hope (1991), The Practice (1997), and Roseanne. 

For a while, Jojo remained out of the limelight until 2016 when he featured alongside his siblings in the family show, Smollett Eats. 

Additionally, he featured as Jimi Jericho, in the ABC sitcom, “On Our Own” (1994-1995).  It was one of the projects that drove him into the spotlight.

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Jazz Smollett is the second child and first daughter of the family. She was born on the 1st of April 1980.

She’s a chef, author, producer, and also an actress. She’s a co-host and co-producer alongside her brother, Jake Smollet, of Living By Design, a CLEO TV’s hit series.

Also, she has appeared on several Shows including the Smollett Eats, in which she’s part of the producers. Additionally, she’s a co-author of “The Family Table: Recipes and Moments From A Nomadic Life.” She was once married to Troy Warwell.

Jussie Smollett is unarguably the most famous of the Smollett’s siblings. He’s the third child and was born on the 21st of June 1982. He’s an actor and singer, well-known for his role as Jamal Lyon in the hit series, Empire.

He started his career in 1991 as a child actor and has carved his path in Hollywood over the years, earning several accolades. As a singer, he has released an album, an EP, and several hit singles.

However, he has been in the news for staging a racist and homophobic attack against himself. He was convicted and sentenced in March 2022 to 150 days in county jail. 

Also, he publicly declared his sexuality as gay on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Jurnee Smollett is the fourth child and second daughter of Joel Smollett, born on 1st October 1986. She’s also into acting like her siblings, popular for her role as Eve Batiste in “Eve Bayou’s.”

She came into the limelight after starring in the sitcom “On Our Own” alongside her siblings. Also, she was featured in 12 episodes of the “Full House” as Denise Frazier. 

Jurnee has appeared in numerous movies and has won several awards. She was once married to Josiah Bell.

Additionally, she’s an activist in HIV/AIDS causes, raising awareness about the disease since she was a child.

Jake Smollet is the fifth child, born on the 29th of July, 1989. He’s an actor and has appeared in movies and shows like Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper (1992), Eve’s Bayou (1997), Living by Design (2019), and others. 

Also, he’s a celebrity chef, and is part of the authors of “The Family Table: Recipes and Moments From A Nomadic Life.”

Jocqui Smollett was born on the 2nd of August 1994. He’s the last child of Joel Smollett. He was a child actor like his siblings. However, he doesn’t do much in the entertainment industry and is focused on his career as a data analyst.

In 2016 he was one of the producers of Smollett Eats and also featured in the show.

Joel Smollett’s Age

Joel Smollett came into this world on the 8th of October 1956. Sadly, he passed away on January 7th, 2015 at the ripe age of 58. 

Joel Smollett’s Death 

Joel Smollett died on the 7th of January, 2015 after battling with cancer. His children had been by his side during his sick days.

His son, Jussie Smollett, shared on his Instagram the death of his father, expressing his grief while paying tribute to him. He was survived by his wife, Janet Smollett, and his six kids.


Joel Smollett is the father of six successful children, who are entertainers. He’s an example of a good father who raised his children with love and support.

The celebrity father died at 58 in 2015, leaving behind a legacy that is still honored years after his demise.

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Marymartin Okoabu
Marymartin Okoabu

Chinonso Marymartin Okoabu is a creative writer who focuses on SEO contents and fictions. With more than two years experience in SEO writing, she writes articles for websites. In her spare time, she crafts short stories that explore life experiences. Her creative works have been published on different websites and Love Feast Magazine. She is the winner of the E C. Michael's prize for short stories, 2022.

Chinonso is a graduate of Human Anatomy from the University of Calabar.
She hails from Ibusa in Oshimili North local government area of Delta state.

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