Michael Jeter was born in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. His mother, Virginia (née Raines), was a housewife. His father, William Claud Jeter (March 10, 1922 – March 1, 2010), was a dentist. Jeter was a student at Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis) when his interests changed from medicine to acting. He performed in several plays and musicals at the Circuit Theatre and its sister theatre, the Playhouse on the Square, in mid-town Memphis. He left Memphis to further pursue his stage career in Baltimore, Maryland.
His woebegone look, extreme flexibility, and high energy led Tommy Tune to cast him in the off-Broadway play, Cloud 9, and again on Broadway in a memorable role in the musical Grand Hotel, for which he won a Tony Award in 1990. Much of his film and television work specialized in playing eccentric, pretentious, or wimpy characters, as in The Fisher King, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Drop Zone. Occasionally, Jeter was able to stay away from these types of roles for more diverse characters like those he portrayed in Jurassic Park III, Air Bud, The Green Mile, and Open Range. He won an Emmy award in 1992 for his role in the television sitcom, Evening Shade. He was, also, a favorite with younger audiences in his role as Mr. Noodle's brother, Mr. Noodle on Sesame Street from 2000 to 2003. The movies The Polar Express and Open Range are dedicated to his memory.
Personal life and death
He received good reviews when he returned to voice Smokey and Steamer in The Polar Express. It was his final film role and the movie was dedicated to him with a statement at the very end of the credits reading, "Dedicated to the memory of Michael Jeter" with his photo next to it. On March 30, 2003, Michael Jeter was found dead in his Hollywood home by his life partner, Sean Blue. Though Michael had lived with HIV for many years, he died from an epileptic seizure.  He was cremated and his ashes were scattered.
- Mrs. Santa Claus (1996, as Santa's right-hand elf)
- Evening Shade (1990-1994, as Herman Stiles)
- Tales of the City (1994 PBS miniseries)
- Gypsy (1993)
- Sesame Street (as Mr.Noodle's brother in Elmo's world)
- Picket Fences
- Hothouse (1988)
- From Here to Eternity
- Alice at the Palace (1981)
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