Willard Christopher Smith II was born on September 25, 1968 in Philadelphia. His father owned a refrigeration company, and his mother Caroline was a homemaker. Smith was one of four children.
Upon graduation from Overbrook High School in 1986, Will Smith turned down a scholarship to the famed “M.I.T,” (Massachusetts Institute of Technology.) Instead of studying science and technology, the African-American wanted to continue expanding his hot career in the music world.
You see, while Smith was still in high school, he and his buddy DJ Jeff Townes joined together to create, “DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.” (Smith supposedly gained the nickname “Prince” because of the charm he used to get out of trouble.) The pair were instantly successful as rhyming rappers. Their first record album, which was released in 1987, was titled, “Rock the House.” The following year, the pair won a Grammy Award for the “Best Rap Performance” for their album titled, “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” The year 1989 would bring a third album titled, “Summertime”, and a second Grammy for the same album. By the time Will Smith became a legal adult, he was already a millionaire.
In 1990, the tall, slender Smith starred in his own television sitcom, the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” By now, he was being billed as simply, “Will Smith.” When the show left the airwaves in 1996, the African-American entertainer had already made his debut in the world of movies. He had appeared in the movie, “Where the Day Takes You” in 1992.
In 1993, the African-American Will Smith pushed his comedy talents aside when he starred in the drama, “Six Degrees of Separation.” Louisa Kittredge, veteran actor Donald Sutherland, John Flanders, Ian McKellen, and Mary Beth Hurt were some of the others actors who rounded out the cast.
He also appeared in a movie titled, “Bad Boys” in 1995.
After his “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” show was canceled, Smith played the role of fighter pilot Steven Hiller in the alien-fighting movie “Independence Day.” The action-thriller drew in throngs of audiences at the theaters. It also starred Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, and Judd Hirsch.
Now that the African-American actor’s career was in full swing, he followed the success of “Independence Day” with a starring role in “Men in Black” in 1997. Will Smith starred as “Agent J” in the action/sci-fi movie. He played opposite veteran actor Tommy Lee Jones.
“Enemy of the State” was released in the following year. In this movie, Smith played opposite another veteran, actor Gene Hackman.
After his string of box office hits, Will Smith returned to the recording studio. This time, though, he wasn’t with his former partner, Jeff Townes. Smith recorded the album “Big Willie Style” in 1997 by himself. He followed this album with a second solo recording, “Willennium”, in 1999.
In the same year, Will Smith filmed the “Wild Wild West.” Then came, “The Legend of Bagger Vance” in 2000; “Ali”, “I, Robot”in 2004, and “Hitch” in 2005.
Smith’s personal life included a short-lived marriage to Sheree Zampino in 1992. The couple has a son, Willard Smith III. Since then, he married actress Jada Pinkett in 1997. They also have a son.
So far in his illustrious career, Smith has been nominated for a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Actor. He was won three Grammys, two American Music Awards, and many MTV awards.
No matter what else he accomplishments in his career, “The Fresh Prince” will undoubtedly always be remembered for his rapping successes. Those, and his roles in the hit movies he made.
Who knows what the future holds for Will Smith? Maybe his next role will be in the Presidential Election.