Known as one of Hollywood`s most lucrative stars, Will Smith made a thriving crossover from being a rapper and songwriter to an actor and producer. Post a modestly successful career as a rapper, Smith gained immense popularity by doing a starring role in the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He then featured in many blockbuster films like Bad Boys (1995), Independence Day (1996), Men In Black (1997), and Hitch
(2005). For portraying Late boxer Mohammad Ali in Micheal Mann`s Ali and entrepreneur Chris Gardner in Gabriele Muccino`s Pursuit of Happyness
, Smith received two Academy Award nominations.
Born Willard Christopher Smith Jr. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Will Smith`s mother, Caroline was a school administrator and his father, Willard Carroll Smith, Sr., a refrigerator company owner. He had a middle-class upbringing, but his charming personality and amazing people skills, made him the centre of attention wherever he went. Amongst his family and friends, he soon earned the title of Prince.
Will Smith`s first marriage to Sheree Zampino ended in three years. The former couple has a son Williard Smith III. In 1997, he tied the knot, again, with actress Jada Pinkett. Both of them have two children- a son, Jaden
, born in 1988, and a daughter, Willow, born in 2000.
DJ Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith, under the name of The Fresh Prince, began producing music that was entertaining and free of swear words, which was a pleasant change for the American music industry. In 1986, they recorded their first song "Girls Ain`t Nothing But Trouble," which was a smashing hit. Their 1987 debut album, Rock the House, hit the Billboard Top 200 and made Smith a millionaire before the age of 18. For their album He`s The DJ, I`m The Rapper, the duo took home the first-ever Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance, in 1988. Their next album And In This Corner...released in 1989, catapulted them to more fame.
Within two years of creating brilliant music, Smith switched to acting. Cashing on his popularity, NBC roped Smith to lead a comedy-drama about a quick-witted kid from Philadelphia who shifts in with his rich uncle and aunty in the upmarket Los Angeles neighbourhood of Bel-Air. The show gained phenomenal popularity and ran for six seasons from 1990-96.
After appearing in minor roles in films like Where the Day Takes You (1992) and Made in America (1993), Will Smith next appeared in the epic sci-fi film Independence Day (1996), a movie that established him as a talent to watch out for. Directed by Roland Emmerich
, Smith played the character of Captain Steven Hiller to perfection.
Smith again received accolades for his next film, Men In Black (1997) and the crime thriller Enemy of the State (1998), bagging him an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Actor. In 2001, Smith starred in the biographical sports drama film Ali. Based on the life of the legendry boxer Muhammad Ali, the movie in spite of being very well received by the critics bombed at the box office. Smith, who essayed the titular character received his first Oscar nomination for Best Actor.
After proving his mettle in Ali, Smith appeared in a series of sequels, reprising his roles in Men In Black II (2002) and Bad Boys II (2003). Both of them received a very lukewarm response at the box-office, failing to create the impact of its prequels. In 2005, Smith tried his luck with a rom-com by starring in Andy Tennant`s Hitch. The movie was a blockbuster and his endearing portrayal of Alex "Hitch" Hitchens, a dating consulted, won hearts all over the world. This smashing success was followed by another mega-hit, The Pursuit of Happyness
. Directed by Gabriele Muccino, the movie is a non-fictional story of businessman Chris Gardner, who struggled his way to success. Along with Will Smith, this biographical drama film stars Smith`s son Jaden Smith as Chris Gardner`s son Christopher Jr. For his role, Smith received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor.
In 2007, Smith starred in I Am Legend
, a remake of the Charlton Heston film Omega Man, which was again very well received. He then appeared in movies like Winter`s Tale (2014), and Suicide Squad
(2016). His second and last 2016 release includes the American drama film Collateral Beauty
. His other releases include Aladdin (2019)
, Gemini Man (2019)
, Spies In Disguise (2019)
and Bad Boys for Life (2020).