Eddie Steeples has a couple of well-known “aka’s”. Some may know him by the first, “Rubberband Man”. He may be best known as “Crab Man”. Unfortunately he hasn’t been known for much else since Crab Man. Here’s how Eddie Steeples got his start and what happened to him after he rose to fame with My Name Is Earl.
EARLY EDDIE STEEPLES
When an actor or an actress is trying to break into the business, they look for just about any in. Most start with small spots in attempts to get noticed and build their resumes. This is how it happened for Eddie Steeples.
His first role was a quick shot on the Chris Rock Show playing a man who got pulled over by the police (in this day and age that may not go over so well, but we digress). It was a slow build for Steeples as the parts were few and far between. Even though the build was slow, Steeples knew for a long time that acting was what he wanted to do.
He told Chron, “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I was 4. I’ve always been good at the make-believe,” he said. “It’s easier for me to just go into a character and become that character, where the other things for me take more thought.”
Not only did Steeples want to act, he saw himself up there with the best. “I went to Santa Cruz to become an actor within two years. That was the plan. I was going to be co-starring with Tom Cruise and doing big films.” Big goals, gotta have them.
He next appeared in the feature People Are Dead and then, after some time, another feature titled Torque. And then came his big break, one that he tried to turn down. One reason could be his idea of acting wasn’t what his big break was going to be. “I wanted to be an actor, so I thought that that was what I was going to do, and whenever that happened, it happened,” Steeples said. “It’s about trusting that thing inside of you. A lot of people could do the same thing, but they don’t. They are thinking, ‘I’ve got to have a job. I’ve got to go do this.’ I never thought that way.”
HIS BIG BREAK AS RUBBERBAND MAN
The call to Eddie Steeples came from a friend in casting. She told the budding actor that they were looking for someone for their Office Max commercial and would he come in to audition. He recalls, via Backstage, “She told me that they were having auditions for this character and they were on their second day of auditioning and they hadn’t found anyone yet. My first response was, ‘I don’t want to do commercials.’ She pleaded with me: ‘I think you would be good at it.'”
Surprise, surprise. He was good at it. Steeples was hired on as the Office Max pitchman, who became known to all as the Rubberband Man. What he realized he liked most about the gig is that he had a lot of input when it came to shaping his character. “[They would] step back and talk to me and say, ‘Well, here’s this shot we have to do next, here’s this particular scene. What could Rubberband Man do here?’ That was the advantage for me as an artist: It allowed me to create a character that they may not have created in the boardroom…” he told Backstage. “I had a lot of creative control to just be me, and that is what I think people latched on to.”
EDDIE STEEPLES IS CRAB MAN
Rubberband Man opened many eyes around town for Eddie Steeples. He was beginning to get a cult following. One of his many fans was a TV producer, Greg Garcia, who was starting to put together a cast for his new project called My Name is Earl. Garcia was a fan so he reached out to Steeples personally to ask him if he wouldn’t mind auditioning for a role as Darnell, a laid-back, funny character who ends up married to Earl’s ex-wife.
Surprise, surprise again. He got the part. “[After I got the part, Greg] told me that he liked the character and he loved the commercial and he thought they were the funniest things in the world,” recalls Steeples. “He even said he wrote to OfficeMax once. He read on a website somewhere that someone had said something—that they thought the commercial was offensive and degrading. He wrote back, ‘What are you talking about? Those commercials are funny!’ So he was definitely a fan.”
Steeples would continue to play Darnell Turner for the entire series run of four seasons. His character was classic, a clueless new daddy nicknamed Crab Man because he works at a Crab Shack. As the series was concluding, the big Crab Man character reveal was that he actually had once been a secret government agent who was now in the witness protection program.
It’s a shame the series was canceled, it could have been fun to see Crab Man’s storyline play out a bit longer.
STRUGGLING AGAINST TYPECASTING
Sometimes it’s hard not to get typecast. Especially if the money is right, actors can find themselves doing the same ol thing. With Rubberband Man, Steeples found himself staring at that very issue.
“I did the OfficeMax commercial, and after I did it, I had people who wanted me to do other projects where, in a way, it was kind of the OfficeMax character, and I refused to do it…” he says. “I don’t mind just saying no to something. I don’t have a problem with not making some money on a project. I don’t have a problem not working for a while and having to struggle a little bit.”
His solution to his own problem? “Try to pick the best roles that are going to show some diversity in who you are as a person. Otherwise, we turn the TV on and see the same guy speaking the same way. He’s good at what he’s doing, but there’s no range.”
Maybe he’s typecast as an actor, but Eddie Steeples has found other ways to be creative. He has written and produced movies and even directed. But one of the things he is most proud of and quite passionate about is music. So, he writes and performs with the hip-hop group No Surrender. The group is well known in New York City’s underground hip-hop scene.
EDDIE STEEPLES NOW
Unfortunately, Eddie Steeples really hasn’t worked a lot as an actor since My Name Is Earl ended in 2009. He had a brief stint on Raising Hope as the “Gas Man”, and that character’s name is probably indicative of the problem. Try as he might, it seems Eddie Steeples has ended up being typecast.
Eddie Steeples was last seen on screen in the series The Guest Book, back in 2018. Since then, he hasn’t worked and doesn’t have any prospects lined up for the future.
In the meantime, he is still active on Instagram, so he hasn’t totally dropped out of the public eye. These days he’s a family man, with a 10-year-old daughter…
And he’s still on good terms with the old gang from his Crab Man days…