Not many people can boast of having conquered the music and film business the way Will Smith has done. The Philadelphia-born rapper, actor, producer, and comedian who rose to fame when he starred as The Fresh Prince, a fictionalized version of himself in the 90s NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, was once rated as the most powerful man in Hollywood.
Smith has currently featured in over 25 blockbuster movies which have totally grossed over $7.5 billion at the global box office. He has also won four Grammy Awards and has been nominated for five Golden Globe Awards and two Academy Awards. He is also ranked by Forbes as the most bankable star worldwide.
Will Smith was born Willard Carroll Smith Jr. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 25, 1968. He is the second child of four from his parents. His mother, Caroline, was a school board administrator, while his father, Willard Carroll Smith Sr., who was a United States Air Force veteran, worked as a refrigerator engineer.
Smith along with his siblings, his elder sister Pamela and younger twin siblings; Harry and Ellen, grew up in the Wynnefield neighborhood of West Philadelphia. Despite being raised Baptist, Smith attended a Catholic elementary school; Our Lady of Lourdes and then Overbrook High School. He was noted as having a charming personality as well as being a very good student who scored high on his SATs. He, however, did not have any ambition of going to college because he wanted to be a rapper.
Career – Music, Acting
At the young age of 12, Smith was able to put together rhymes, emulating his hero Grandmaster Flash. He was, however, able to distinguish himself from the rest with his ability to add comedy to his lyrics. By the time he was 16, Smith had already zeroed his mind on not attending college which led to him joining forces with a DJ named Jeff Townes who he met at a party. The two young ambitious entertainers soon became friends leading to the rise of the 80s hip-hop duo; DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.
The pair soon started making music which was focused on the preoccupations of teenagers, with songs like “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble,” and “Parents Just Don’t Understand” hugely embraced by the public. It also helped that Smith avoided using curse words in his lyrics, a welcomed alternative at the time to the emerging West Coast gangsta rap.
Their debut album, ‘Rock The House’ was released in 1987 to commercial and critical acclaim. It debuted on Billboard Top 200 and earned the duo the first-ever Grammy awarded in the rap category the following year. They won another Grammy in 1991 for their most successful song ever, “Summertime” before Smith moved into acting in a sitcom built around his persona. The show ran for six seasons and was very successful, placing him in a decent position to land future roles on the big screen.
A solo music career, which DJ Jazzy Jeff helped in the production of some of his songs, and small acting roles soon followed for Will Smith before the major roles came forward. The first was the 1993 drama ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ and then the action-packed 1995 film ‘Bad Boys’ with comedian Martin Lawrence. He cemented himself as the go-to guy for blockbusters when he starred in the 1996 Sci-fi, ‘Independence Day’ which turned out to be the second highest-grossing film in history at the time.
In the summer of 1997, Smith dropped ‘Big Willie Style’ which featured the soundtrack to the movie of the same name, ‘Men in Black’ which he starred in, opposite Tommy Lee Jones. Both projects were critically and commercially successful, prompting him to use the same formula in 1999 for ‘Wild Wild West’. The album in question, ‘Willennium’, along with its predecessor, was certified double platinum and nine times platinum, respectively.
Will Smith has gone ahead to feature alongside his children in films, take on the role of producer, and win various awards including an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records for attending three movie premieres within 24-hours.
Family – Wife, Son, Kids
Will Smith is currently in his second marriage. He was first married to Sheree Zampino in 1992. The couple was blessed with a son; Willard Smith III, popularly known as Trey, that same year before they called it quits three years later in 1995.
In 1997, Smith exchanged vows again. He married Jada Pinkett and the two have been together till date. The power couple, who have been described as black royalty, have two children together; Jaden Christopher Syre Smith, born in 1998, and Willow Camille Reign Smith, born in 2000.
Religion & Beliefs
Will Smith currently identifies with no religion despite having been raised Baptist and having attended a Catholic school. There have been rumors that he and his wife, Jada, are part of the church of Scientology due to their extensive friendship with some of its high profile members like Tom Cruise. The couple has, however, denied this, adding that they are students of world religion.
Is Will Smith Gay?
Another rumor that has been spread about Smith is that he is gay. This rumor is false seeing that there has not been any substantiated evidence put forward or even an alleged gay partner to point out. The rumor was also fueled by Smith’s decision to come out in support of gay/same-sex marriage.
Is He Dead?
Will Smith is very much alive and is currently working on new projects that will be released in 2019. He has in the past been a victim of the celebrity hoax death trend that engulfed social media in the past few years.
Quick Facts – Height, Weight
Birth Name: Willard Carroll Smith Jr.
Place of Birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A
Birth Date: September 25, 1968
Occupation(s): Rapper, Actor, Producer, Songwriter
Height: 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m)
Weight: 82 kg (181 lbs)