Date of Birth 25 September 1968 , Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Birth Name Willard Christopher Smith Jr.
Nicknames Fresh Prince
Height 6′ 2″ (1.88 m)
Mini Bio (1)
Will Smith was the second of four children of Caroline (school board employee) and Willard C. Smith Sr. (owner of a refrigeration company). He grew up in a middle class area in West Philadelphia called Wynnefield. Will 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. Bright student Will also signed up with the high-status Julia Reynolds Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School in Philadelphia.
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 jewelry, 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 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990). The plot was simple – Will basically played himself; a street-smart West Philly kid transplanted to Beverly Hills. The series lasted six years. During that time, he 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), Will’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.
– IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Jada Pinkett Smith (31 December 1997 – present) (2 children)
Sheree Fletcher (9 May 1992 – 10 December 1995) (divorced) (1 child)
Trade Mark (2)
Often plays a policeman or an agent
Frequently includes his catchphrase, “Aw, hell no!” in his movies
Met wife Jada Pinkett Smith when she tried out for the role of his girlfriend on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990). The role eventually went to Nia Long.
Has three children. Son, Willard Smith III (Trey Smith) born in November 11, 1992, with Sheree Fletcher. Son, Jaden Christopher Syre Smith (Jaden Smith) born July 8, 1998 and daughter, Willow Camille Reign Smith (Willow Smith) born October 31, 2000 with Jada Pinkett Smith.
Has said he based his character Captain Steven Hiller in Independence Day (1996) on his favorite big screen hero, Harrison Ford, most notably his performances of Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) and its sequels.
Also known as rap artist “The Fresh Prince.”.
Will’s siblings are: Pam Smith (born in 1964), and twins Ellen and Harry Smith (born in 1971).
Won a Grammy Award for the song “Summertime” during his rap career.
Received the first ever Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance, for the song “Parents Just Don’t Understand” in 1989 with his partner Jeffrey A. Townes (aka Jazzy Jeff).
Enjoys playing chess.
Chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World.
Smith’s pilot test show for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990) was directed by Debbie Allen.
Met first wife, Sheree Fletcher, at a taping of A Different World (1987) in 1991.
As a public role model, hosted the Presidential Inaugural Celebration for Youth, as part of the Gala for President Bill Clinton. [January 1993]
Graduate of Philly’s legendary Overbrook High School, whose alumni include Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Lear, Wali ‘Wonder’ Jones, Walt Hazzard, The Dovells, The Orlons, DeeDee Sharp, etc. and, in tribute to his student years there, his production company is called Overbrook Entertainment.
Attended the prestigious Julia Reynolds Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School in Philadelphia, as well as Catholic school and public Overbrook HS.
Turned down the role of Neo in The Matrix (1999).
First hip-hop artist to be nominated for an Academy Award.
Speaks fluent Spanish.
Ranked #2 on Star TV’s Top Ten Box Office stars of the 1990s (2003).
Had a chart-hit together with DJ Jazzy Jeff (aka Jeffrey A. Townes.
Dropped from Columbia Records as an artist after lackluster sales of his third solo album, which was self-titled, and greatest hits compilation. [Summer 2003]
Incorporates the line “Aw, hell no!” into all his movies as a running catch phrase like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “I’ll be back!”.
Ranked #15 in TV Guide’s list of “TV’s 25 Greatest Teen Idols” (23 January 2005 issue).
Gained a place in the Guinness World Records book for most public appearances in 12 hours, by attending three red carpet “premieres” for Hitch (2005) on 22nd February 2005. He walked the red carpet and introduced the film at Manchester, Birmingham, and finally for the premiere in London, England.
Once stated that in his whole career, he most regrets turning down the part of Neo in The Matrix (1999) and the film that he most regrets making was Wild Wild West (1999).
He has been at his adult height of 6′ 2″ since he was 13, although he is now about 60 pounds heavier than he first was when he reached this height.
Premiere Magazine ranked him as #44 on a list of the Greatest Movie Stars of All Time in their Stars in Our Constellation feature (2005).
He sang a few lines “Wild Wild West” to his on screen cousin Carleton, a movie in which he starred 6 years later.
Hosted the MTV Movie Awards in 1994.
Was considered for the role of “Mr. Smith” in Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) before Brad Pitt was cast.
Is supposedly a huge fan of the Swedish well-known (but barely known in the U.S.) melodic heavy metal band Soilwork.
Raked #66 in VH1’s 100 greatest Teen Stars.
Holds the record for most Kids Choice Awards with a whopping six wins.
Ranked #14 on Premiere’s 2006 “Power 50” list. Had ranked #18 in 2005. He is the second-highest ranked actor, behind only Tom Cruise.
He and Jada Pinkett Smith were forced to leave their home in California because a bush fire threatened to destroy it and several other houses in the same area. [October 2005]
His 1995 divorce from ex-wife Sheree Fletcher led to a $900,000 lump sum divorce settlement for Zampino plus $24,000 per month in alimony and child support; this equals $288,000 a year.
Lost his place in the Guiness World Records book for most public appearances in 12 hours to German actors Jürgen Vogel and Daniel Brühl, who attended four red carpet premieres of their movie A Friend of Mine (2006), one more than Will (22 October 2006).
In the 1998 rap lyrics of “Gettin’ Jiggy”, Will Smith says that Muhammad Ali would call him “The Greatest.” Two and a half years later, he played the title role in Ali (2001).
An animated caricature of him appeared in Men in Black: The Series (1997) (the animated series adaptation of Men in Black (1997)), alongside a caricature of his MIB co-star Tommy Lee Jones, set against a shot that parodied one of the famous low angle shots of a building being threatened by a flying saucer, an in-joke reference to Smith’s 1996 hit Men in Black: The Series (1997), which preceded Men in Black (1997).
His character from Men in Black (1997), Agent Jay, was not originally written to specifically be a black man. In fact, the role was offered to Caucasian actors Chris O’Donnell and David Schwimmer before Smith accepted the part.
Had to undergo treatment on his shoulder in a New York hospital after he suffered a strain. [March 2007]
Was among the guests at Tom Cruise’s and Katie Holmes’s wedding ceremony in Italy.
Ranked #30 on VH1’s 50 Greatest Hip Hop Artists along with DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.
Ranked #29 on VH1’s 100 Sexiest Artists.
2007 – Ranked #5 on EW’s The 50 Smartest People in Hollywood.
December 2007 – According to Forbes, for each dollar he got paid, Smith’s movies averaged $10 of gross income.
Was a millionaire before the age of 20.
In 2004, his net worth was estimated to be $188 million.
In 2007, Forbes Magazine estimated his earnings for the year at $31 million.
Huge fan of professional wrestling.
Is often called “Mr. July” by the media due to the fact that most of his summer blockbusters open in July.
He and his daughter Willow Smith both had movies opening 2 July, 2008. His was Hancock (2008), hers was Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (2008).
Has appeared in two films starting with the word “I”, I, Robot (2004) and I Am Legend (2007).
Wrote and performed the song, “Just the Two of Us”, about his first son, Trey Smith.
Was considered for the role of Detective James Carter in Rush Hour (1998).
As of Hancock (2008), he holds the record for the actor to star in the most consecutive $100 million-grossing movies (8).
Was in consideration for the part of Curtis Taylor Jr in Dreamgirls (2006). However Jamie Foxx was cast instead.
Birth Card is the Queen of Hearts.
Brother-in-law of Caleeb Pinkett.
He has solved Rubik’s cubes in both The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and The Pursuit of Happiness. This is a real talent of his; he has shown on live TV that he can solve a Rubik’s Cube in under 55 seconds.
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) is his favorite movie.
Acting mentor was James Avery.
Living in Beijing, China for the next three months with his family while his son, Jaden Smith, films The Karate Kid (2010). [July 2009]
Recently purchased a home in south Stockholm, Sweden because he feels it is the best place to relax. [August 2004]
Attended a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to promote I Am Legend (2007). He stayed at the famous Copacabana Palace Hotel. [January 2008]
Personal Quotes (32)
[on his first season of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990)] “I was trying so hard. I would memorize the entire script, then I’d be lipping everybody’s lines while they were talking. When I watch those episodes, it’s disgusting. My performances were horrible.”
On the change in his body that Ali’s intense physical training required: “I’m human viagra. I’m Willagra. I’m a sex machine now. I’m raring to go every second of the day. My wife’s loving it.”
My biggest emotional defeat and the greatest emotional pain I’ve had as an actor was when ‘Wild Wild West’ opened up to $52 million. The movie wasn’t good. And it hurt so bad to be the No. 1 movie, to open at $52 million and to know the movie wasn’t good.
I want to stop at five – when asked by Jules Asner about having more children.
When I turned 28, everything clicked. I even got way better in bed.
It’s a whole different thing being an actor. A rapper is about being completely true to yourself. Being an actor is about changing who you are. You make yourself a different person. You become a different person.
You’re so much stronger when your partner is strong. I honestly believe there is no woman for me but Jada. Of all the women I’ve met – and there’ve been a few – no one can handle me the way Jada does. Once you feel someone locked in on you, it’s no contest. As fine as other women can be, as tempting sexually, I’m not going anywhere. This is it. I can’t imagine what anyone else could offer.
I love being black in America, and especially being black in Hollywood.
I really believe that a man and a woman together, raising a family, is the purest form of happiness we can experience.
If you’re not willing to work hard, let someone else do it. I’d rather be with someone who does a horrible job, but gives 110% than with someone who does a good job and gives 60%.
People laugh, but if I set my mind to it, within the next 15 years I would be president.
My grandmother once told me, ‘Don’t let failure go to your heart and don’t let success go to your head.’
[on Star Wars] “I might have been eight or nine. That was the movie that put me into a space where the science fiction element was almost a spiritual connection for me. I thought, if someone could imagine that and then put it on a screen and make me feel like that… and my entire career I’ve been trying to make people feel like Star Wars made me feel.”
About Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: “I really wanted to work with her in Hitch (2005) but she was shooting Bride & Prejudice (2004) at the time and she couldn’t do it. She has this powerful energy where she doesn’t have to say anything, do anything, she can just stand there. Anything she’s making, I’ll be there” (February 2006).
If I weren’t a musician/actor, I’d be a computer engineer. I was always good at math. I probably would have been the guy who invented the remote control if I’d been around then.
When I started in movies, I said, ‘I want to be the biggest movie star in the world.’ The biggest movie stars make the biggest movies, so [my producing partner James Lassiter and I] looked at the top 10 movies of all time. At that point, they were all special-effects movies. So Independence Day, no-brainer. Men in Black, no-brainer. I, Robot, no-brainer.
[on refusing to kiss Anthony Michael Hall in Six Degrees of Separation (1993)] It was very immature on my part. I was thinking, ‘How are my friends in Philly going to think about this?’ I wasn’t emotionally stable enough to artistically commit to that aspect of the film. In a movie with actors and a director and writer of this caliber, for me to be the one bringing something cheesy to it… This was a valuable lesson for me. Either you do it or you don’t.
Give me a problem, I’ll give you a solution. I just love living. That’s a feeling you can’t fake. I’m glad every single day. I think that even the camera can feel that I’m a happy man.
(1996) I was nine and my older sister must have been 15. Some guys pulled a knife on me and took my money when I was coming home from school. I came in crying and my sister asked me why. I told her and she right away grabbed a baseball bat. We walked around for four hours looking for this guy. She had no concern for her own safety. Somebody had done something to her brother and she was going to do everything in her power to make sure they never did it again. We never found the guys, but that type of love and commitment is what I search for. My mother and my grandmother. That same kind of unconditional love. All women have the organs. But that’s not what excites me about being in a relationship with women, that’s not what makes me feel good. What I want to know is, ‘Are you gonna grab a bat when someone steals my money?’ Now, Miss Jada’s so little, she might need two bats, but she’s more than happy to go grab ’em. Outside of our love relationship, she’s my best friend, too.
(1996, Movieline Magazine) There’s probably only four women in Los Angeles that have intimate knowledge of Will Smith. You know, I had my brief period, a short time in my life, but that got real old real quick. I want to love somebody. I just always prefer one woman. The intimacy is so much more enjoyable when it’s with someone you love. Because I know I can pretty much have sex with anyone I choose, it becomes less appealing. It’s no challenge. A successful relationship is much harder than sleeping with as many women as you can sleep with.
(1996, on fame) There are members of the press who make their living infringing on people’s private moments. You never know where these people are going to be. They stay outside your house and climb the gates and walk around looking in your windows. Now I’ve got a bunch of 140-pound Rottweilers. It’s just a shame to have to live like that, because I like people so much. Still, you don’t know what people will do. You can never feel completely safe. You’ve got to look around all the time. I’m kind of used to that, being black, watching out for white people coming to get you. Now it’s tenfold…I’m having trouble dealing with the concept that you sacrifice your right to courtesy by being a celebrity. Because I’m a celebrity, someone is allowed to block my way from getting into my car. If I’m in the middle of a conversation, because I’m a celebrity, someone can come up to me and go, ‘Can you sign this?’ You’re supposed to do the nice thing and sign, because if you don’t, it’s like, ‘He’s such an asshole. He doesn’t sign autographs.’ You’re in mid-gulp at a restaurant and people ask you to put down your fork, take some dirty pen that you have no idea of where it’s been, sign some filthy piece of paper ripped off a paper bag they found outside, then go back and put your hands in your food.
(1996, on fame) I’m pretty good at diffusing potential situations, but I find myself having to diffuse them a lot more often than before. I heard Sylvester Stallone say once that after he made Rocky, everybody wanted to fight him. Well, every big guy wants to fight me now. They go. ‘Yo. I ain’t no alien-hit me,’ and I’m like, ‘I don’t want to hit you. I just want to get some cheese from the supermarket to make grilled cheese sandwiches for my son.’ Why do people want to fight me? What did I do? I think of myself as a pretty calm, likable guy. It’s really weird. I was nonthreatening on ‘The Fresh Prince,’ so nobody wanted to fight me, but then I buffed up for Independence Day, came on a little cocky, and suddenly people want to knock me down. People who know me from TV think I’ve seen them in their underwear drinking on their couch, so the response is more familiar, more friendly. Film gives you almost God status, you know? It makes people crazy.
(1996, on fame) I was in Manhattan making Men In Black and this girl was driving along, saw me and started mouthing over and over, ‘Oh, my God. Oh, my God,’ then crashed into another car.” Smith shakes his head in amazement. “Now, she gets out of her car, but she doesn’t say, “Oh. I crashed into the back of a car!’ She runs over to me and asks for my autograph. That’s when I thought: This is real different. Then, I was at the Virgin Megastore in Manhattan and this girl came up to me, pulled her shirt up and asked me to sign her breasts with a Sharpie. I mean, she’s standing there in the middle of the store with her titties hanging out and I’m like, ‘Listen, those are really nice breasts, but this is really an inappropriate time and place.’ In another store, this toothless 80-year-old lady came up to me, grabbed my face and tried to kiss me right on the lips. I said, ‘Now, ma’am, if I walked up to you, grabbed your face and tried to kiss you on the mouth, the cops would give me a Rodney King and take me right to jail.’ And she was like, ‘Oh, slop being mean. Just give me a kiss.’
(1996) As for my life right now, the picture I always see in my mind is of that incredible game Michael Jordan had where he had 63 points. He just turned to the TV cameras and shrugged, like, ‘Hey, I’m just throwing ’em up there and they’re going in.’ That’s how I feel. I’d love to say that I’m brilliant, that I’m the second coming. The real answer is that I’m blessed. I throw ’em up from wherever I am and they just keep going in. How cool is that?
(1996) I’m above average in talent, but where I think I excel is psychotic drive. All I need is for somebody to say I can’t do something and this crazy switch inside me makes me attack whatever I’m doing. Psychotic drive is where I excel over people that are probably more naturally gifted.
(1996) In film and TV, there’s a natural, gradual decline to your career. In the music business, it’s literally one day. The day your record hits the radio, you explode to number one on the countdown. You’re the man, you’re large, you’re doing show after show. Then you’re over just that fast. I had the ups of people telling me, ‘You’re the man, Will.’ then the downs of selling your house because you can’t afford all this stuff you bought because everybody told you were the man. The money disappeared. But, my God, I learned about myself because I had the ups and all the downs…I’ve been in really ugly situations, hostage situations, on the road with my music. You know, you get out to Albany, Georgia and the promoter didn’t make his money, so he doesn’t want to pay you. I mean, during the first part of my music career, we signed our first deal with a gangster who later tried to shoot us. He was a penny-ante gangster, but the bullets were for real. As we were driving away, he shot at the car five or six times. It was pretty scary, but you don’t think about that while it’s happening, you’re just trying to get away. He would have killed us if he could actually shoot.
[on turning down the lead role in The Matrix (1999)] You know, _The Matrix_ is a difficult concept to pitch. In the pitch, I just didn’t see it. I watched Keanu’s performance – and very rarely do I say this – but I would have messed it up. I would have absolutely messed up The Matrix (1999). At that point I wasn’t smart enough as an actor to let the movie be. Whereas Keanu was smart enough to just let it be. Let the movie and the director tell the story, and don’t try and perform every moment.
As a child I watched ‘Dallas’, and that was the vision for my life as long as I can remember. The property had a name! It was called ‘Southfork’. How does a property have a name? Ours was just ‘Row House’.
[on passing on the role of Django in Django Unchained (2012)] Django wasn’t the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead. The other character was the lead! I was like, ‘No, Quentin, please, I need to kill the bad guy!’ I thought it was brilliant. Just not for me.
[on Justin Bieber] I talk to Justin once a week, and he is suffering from immature adulthood in the media and surrounding world. He’s not doing anything that a normal nineteen-year-old wouldn’t want to do and wouldn’t need to do to become a man. The transition from boyhood to manhood is a very difficult transition that he’s handling on a world stage better than 95 percent of the people who talk shit about him.
I love to create. There’s something about making movies that just really gets me excited. It’s not the movie-making probably as much as the storytelling. I love people being wrapped in a story and being able to deliver that emotional punch line at the end of the story.
[in an interview for “After Earth” talking about what scares him the most in cinema] It’s been an absolute necessity that the movie be a blockbuster, but I think I’m going to start moving out of that and finding more danger in my artistic choices.