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Will Smith – Biography

Who is Will Smith

Will Smith, by name of Willard Carroll Smith, Jr., (born September 25, 1968, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.), American actor and musician whose charisma, clean-cut good looks, and quick wit helped him transition from rap music to a successful career in acting.

Will Smith was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1968. After he met Jeff Townes at age 16, the duo launched a highly successful rap career as DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. Smith starred on the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for six seasons, before establishing himself as a Hollywood A-lister with Bad Boys (1995) and Independence Day (1996). He has since headlined such popular films as Men in Black (1997) and Hitch (2005) and earned Oscar nominations for Ali (2001) and The Pursuit of Happyness (2006).

Music Career

As teens, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince began producing music but steered clear of the gangsta rap sound that was emerging from the West Coast by groups like N.W.A. The Fresh Prince rapped about teenage preoccupations in a clean, curse-free style that middle America found safe and entertaining. The pair’s first single, “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble,” was a hit in 1986. Their 1987 debut album, Rock the House, hit the Billboard Top 200 and made Smith a millionaire before the age of 18. The early success put any thoughts of attending college out of Smith’s mind.

Early on, it was reported that Smith had turned down a scholarship to Boston’s elite Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), but Smith later dispelled the rumor when he told an interviewer: “My mother, who worked for the School Board of Philadelphia, had a friend who was the admissions officer at MIT. I had pretty high SAT scores and they needed black kids, so I probably could have gotten in. But I had no intention of going to college.” In 1988 DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince continued their success with the album He’s The DJ, I’m The Rapper. Featuring the radio-friendly singles “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” “Brand New Funk,” and “Nightmare on My Street,” the album won the first ever Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance. It was followed in 1989 by And In This Corner…, which continued the pair’s rise to stardom.

Two years later, Smith began his remarkable crossover into acting. Drawing on his experiences with fledgling stardom, NBC signed Smith to headline a sitcom about a street-smart kid from Philadelphia who moves in with stuffy relatives in the posh Los Angeles neighborhood of Bel-Air. Playing on his rapper persona, and at times featuring his friend Towne, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was a huge success that ran for six seasons. Meanwhile, Smith and Towne continued producing music, their 1991 album Homebaseproducing the hits “Summertime” and “Ring My Bell.” Their final album together, 1993’s Code Red, was notable for “Boom! Shake the Room.”

Wife & Family

Smith has been married twice. His first marriage to Sheree Zampino in 1992 lasted only three years but produced a son, Willard Smith III (b. 1992), also known as Trey. He has been married to actress Jada Pinkett Smith since 1997. The couple’s son, Jaden, was born in 1998, and their daughter, Willow, was born in 2000. Smith leans politically liberal and has made donations to the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama. As of 2015, his net worth was estimated to be $250 million. Smith is a fan of chess and video games and is known to take his mother on vacation every year, usually to the Canyon Ranch spa in Tucson, Arizona.

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