Will Smith is one of the most prominent powerhouses in Hollywood. He has been named as one of the wealthiest and most influential actors in the world. To younger generations, Will Smith is an established movie star known for his charisma and charm and who averages one major film a year. But for those who have been following his career since the beginning, he is an unusually multi-talented artist whose success has been a true inspiration to many.
In West Philadelphia Born And Raised
Born in 1968, Will Smith grows up in Philadelphia in a middle-class neighborhood where he attended high school. Very early on he decided on a career in music and started performing as the rapper Fresh Prince (with his friend Jazzy Jeff) with a lot of success. By 1988 the duo was at the top of the charts with its album He’s the DJ I’m the Rapper, which earned triple platinum status along with a Grammy award.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Years
In 1989 a TV show creator approached Will Smith to offer him the lead in an NBC sitcom called The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. The show – about a fun-loving Philadelphia teenager whose mother sends him to live with relatives in a luxury house in Los Angeles – was a huge international hit that catapulted him to stardom. It ran for six seasons and launched Will Smith’s acting career. Toward the end of the series, Smith decided to end his musical partnership with Jazzy Jeff in order to focus on acting.
Bad Boys – Birth of an Action Hero
In the mid-1990s Smith became a household name and made his move to the big screen with a few movies that had moderate to good success at the box office. He got his first major starring role in the blockbuster Bad Boys, a Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer production in which he teams up with comedian-actor Martin Lawrence. The movie generated good revenue in the U.S. and foreign markets despite mixed reviews and established Smith as a major film star.
In the years that followed Smith appeared in a number of movies, starring in major productions and making several millions for each of them. With Bad Boys and Men in Black, both of which spawned high-grossing sequels, Smith was recognized as a talented actor upon whom someone could build a successful franchise.
Hancock- The Movie Star Power
Will Smith went through the early part of the new millennium as one of the biggest and most successful movie stars. His role as Muhammad Ali in 2001 showed his talent and versatility as an actor. All but one of the movies he made after 2002 raked in over $100 million in the U.S. market. His name is usually at the top of the A-list whenever a major project reaches the pre-production phase. His casting as a washed-up superhero in Hancock (2008) is great example of the movie star he has become.
Smith has three children (all of whom have also appeared in films or TV shows) from two different marriages and is now living with his second wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and their two children.