Willard Carroll Smith, Jr. was born in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the second of four children. He grew up in the middle class area of West Philadelphia and attended the Overbrook High School located in the Overbrook section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He got the nickname “Prince” because of the way he could charm his way out of trouble.
Pursuing music, he met Jeffrey A. Townes at a party and they soon began performing together as ‘D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’. When the duo took off in popularity, Smith made and spent a lot of money on a house, cars and jewellery, leading to his near-bankruptcy in his early twenties.
Luckily, in 1989, he met Benny Medina, who had an idea for a sitcom based on his life in Beverly Hills. Smith loved the idea as did N.B.C. which put on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990).
The series lasted six years and during that time, Smith ventured into movies where the critics took note of him in Six Degrees of Separation (1993). With the success that came with the action picture Bad Boys (1995), Smith’s movie career was set. He had a huge Blockbuster hit with Independence Day (1996), where he plays the alien-battling Marine Corps Captain Steven Hiller and continues to entertain the masses to this day.
1993 Six Degrees of Separation
1997 Men in Black
2005 I, Robot
2007 I am Legend
2008 Seven Pounds
2013 After Earth