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John Roleke

They Came From Queens - Al Roker From St. Albans

By June 7, 2006

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If you're to believe the film Men in Black, Al Roker owes his success to aliens, but around here, he's another Queens personality who has made his dream come true. Weatherman and host of the Today show, Al Roker grew up in Queens in the neighborhood of St. Albans and was born in 1954. In the course of a 30-year career, he has won nine Emmy Awards, and is a best-selling author.

Roker got his big break doing the local news weather in New York City on WNBC. More national exposure followed, including an elevator race on Late Night With David Letterman, giving his personality a chance to shine. Eventually, Roker took the weatherman job on Weekend Today and later in 1996 on the Today show.

Yes, Al Roker is a meteorologist and a member of the American Meteorological Society. However, he once thought cartooning would be a career, and he enjoys sharing his cartoons through his website.

Roker has taken his success in stride, keeping down to earth. Weight, though, was one issue he couldn't shrug off. In 2002 Roker went under the knife for gastric bypass surgery, after repeatedly failing at diets. His love of food has found positive outlets, including his best-selling cookbook Al Roker's Big Bad Book of Barbecue.

And speaking of weathermen from Queens, Mr. G -- Irv Gikofsky of WPIX -- grew up in Queens and used to jog in the streets of Whitestone when he was starting out in the weather business.

Photo Credit: © NBC

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