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Sherri Shepherd Thinks Of Her Son Jeffrey To Stir Up Emotion

11/16/2008 at 11:00 AM ET
Jason Merritt/FilmMagic

In the new film Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Sherri Shepherd lends her voice as the mother lion of young Alex, who has found himself outside of his natural reserve in Africa and separated from both his mother and father. While not her first time participating in an animated film, The View co-host admits that "sitting in a booth in a chair with a glass of water and a microphone" calls for actors to dig deep in order to relate to their fictional characters and bring passion to the big screen. Playing the role of a worried mother, Sherri’s source of inspiration was quite natural: her 3 ½-year-old son Jeffrey Charles.

"Well, I got a 3-year-old and I would [give up everything to be with him] in a heartbeat. So really, sitting in that booth by myself with a microphone, I just went, ‘What would happen if I had to give up my son, Jeffrey? How would I feel?’ It was very emotional, very raw emotion, just where my imagination took me."

Sherri shares that while she would love to visit Africa one day, first she must concentrate on ridding Jeffrey — who "craned his head" when he recognized his mom’s voice in the film, but "couldn’t reconcile the fact that there was a lion with my voice" — of his pacifier. "As soon as I can get this binky out of my son’s mouth, [because] I’m afraid he’d lose it in the jungle and if he lost that binky in the jungle, we all in trouble on that safari," shares the 41-year-old comedian.

Sherri’s new film — Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa — which also features the voices of actors Jada Pinkett Smith, Chris Rock, and Ben Stiller, is in theaters now.

Jeffrey is Sherri’s son with her estranged husband, fellow comedian Jeff Tarpley.

Source: Post-Gazette

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Showing 5 comments

Sarah on

I don’t have kids but, how old is too old for a pacifier? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 3 1/2 year old with a binky in their mouth. Again, I don’t have any kids so I know I can’t judge, but it’s just a question.

Colleen on

3 years old is way too old for a normally developing toddler/preschooler to have a pacifier. Ideally, doctors recommend that children lose the pacifier by 12 months. As far as Sherri’s son is concerned, I know he has special needs so his situation may not fall under doctor’s guidelines.

briana on

3 1/2 is way older than most kids have pacifiers. I have cared for a lot of children in my life, both in daycare and babysitting – not to mention friends and families kids – and no one that age has ever had a paci. 2 years old is the ABSOLUTE oldest i’ve ever seen. I mean once a child is potty-trained a pacifier should be gone.
I know Jeffery has special needs so that may have something to do with it – and he may not be potty trained yet. Im not really sure what his special needs are. But for a normally deveoping child, 3 1/2 is unheard of.

amelia on

I don’t think 3 1/2 is unheard of for a child to have a binki! Also potty trained and binki removal should not go hand in hand. My kids were 3+ when they were potty trained but younger when I took the binkies away. The two do not go hand in hand. As long as it does not mess up their teeth I don’t see 3 1/2 is a huge deal. Also her son is a 23 weeker I believe so as a fellow preemie mom lets give her and her son some slack:)When my babies were in the hospital the NICU nurses suggested them to help the suck/swollow/breathe thing to kick in. My little onelb 5oz son loved his giant purple binki…still have it around here somewhere!

briana on

I did not mean that binkie removal and potty training should go hand it hand. But one should surely come before the other. But i think i say it for the majority of the population that pacifiers are gone before a child potty trains. I have no problems with pacifiers for children, but to give a paci to a child who is capable of using the bathroom on their own is sending a mixed message – if you are old enough to be potty trained then you should be off the pacifier.

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