Willard Christopher Smith is better known as the American actor Will Smith. He was born on September 25, 1968. He has enjoyed great success in films, music, and television, and has won awards and critical acclaims. He was born and raised in West Philadelphia and Germantown in Northwest Philadelphia in the Wynnefield section, by his mom Caroline, who was as school board administrator and his father Willard Christopher Smith Sr. was a refrigeration engineer.
He was the second of four children. His siblings were Pam (1964) and the twins Ellen and Harry (1971). Living in a Middle class family, he attended High School at the Overbrook High School. Being a bright and brilliant student, he also signed up for with the high-status Julia Reynolds Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School in Philadelphia. He was nicknamed “Prince” because of how he is able to charm his way out of trouble.The Smiths were a Baptist family, yet Will would attend a Catholic school. His neighborhood was half populated by Orthodox Jews, and close by was a strongly Muslim area.
School was 90% white, but 90% of Smith’s playmates were black. He learned how to be liked by everyone started rapping at the young age of 12, but developed his own quirky and slick style with a comic dash. At 16, during a party in Philadelphia, he fired a fart spray into an electric fan, impressing Jeff Townes, better known as DJ Jazzy Jeff.
This started a great friendship and collaborations that catapulted them into worldwide success. The pair’s music was funky, cheery, and quirky, but clean, which was a far contrast from the emerging Gangsta Rap, with all the violence and cuss words that was beginning to come up during those times into the mainstream.Their debut album Rock the House was a huge success in 1988, with their debut single “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble” hit the Million mark making Will a Millionaire by the age of 18.
However, he was later swept cleaned by the IRS because he forgot to pay his taxes. Fortunately. More successes and more hits came later with the album “He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper” enjoying phenomenal success and the distinction of being the first Hip Hop LP (Long Play) to go double platinum. In 1989, they won the first ever Grammy for Best Rap Performance for the track Parents Just Don’t Understand, and received the three millionth call to their own 900 number (the US equivalent of 0898), the first ever set up by pop stars. A further Grammy was won in 1991, for the track Summertime, and the hits kept coming till Code Red, their final album together, in 1993. This, of course, was not the end of Will’s rapping career. He would re-emerge in 1997 with a debut solo LP, Big Willie Style, which spawned the super monster hit Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It, and would strike again with 1999’s mighty Willennium.
Television and Movies“Money and success don’t change people; they merely amplify what is already there.” – Willard Christopher Smith (1968- );When he was nearly swept clean by the IRS and on the brink of bankruptcy in1990, another stroke of luck came his way. Will was offered a TV Sitcom by NBC.
“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” was basically about him; street-smart Philly boy transplanted in Beverly Hills. This lasted for six seasons. Although his performance was not that astounding, he landed a notable dramatic debut in the movie Six Degrees of Separation in 1993, where he played a gay con man. Though the film was nominated for an Oscar, his real big break came with the movie Bad Boys in 1995, along with anoher black lead actor, comic Martin Lawrence.When Fresh Prince packed it up in 1996, Will launched simultaneously a successful solo career in music and film.
His next two movies were monster hit, first of which was Independence Day in 1996, where he played a fearless and confident alien fighting pilot off to be part of a plan to save the world from alien invasion. His next movie Men In Black in 1997 featured him as a cream of the crop but, street savvy, comic cop Agent J freshly recruited to a special ‘secret’ force regulating alien relations andsaving the world from impending doom due to an intergalactic ‘theft’ of a priced possession of one alien’s sovereigns ‘marbles.’ He played sidekick to Tommy Lee Jones’ character; deadpan Agent K. His performances in both movies won him critical acclaim, and turned him into a bankable star that is able to “open” a film raking in Millions at the box office. String of Movies followed with much success; In 1998 he starred with Gene Hackman in Enemy of the State. Next came one major set-back, with the relative failure of Wild Wild West.
He turned down the role of Neo in the Matrix, but reasserts that Keanu Reeves’ performance was superior to what he could have given. He bounced back quickly from this though, as s the mystical caddie helping Matt Damon re-find his golf game in Robert Redford’s The Legend Of Bagger Vance. He was then nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of the boxer Muhammad Ali in Ali. Following this came the much-anticipated Men In Black 2. Now, to the great joy of Martin Lawrence, came Bad Boys 2. Will moved on to I, Robot, an adaptation of Isaac Asimov sci-fi stories, directed by Alex Proyas. Next he would lend his voice to the animated Shark Tale, playing a young fish who’s found beside the body of the son of shark mob boss. Robert De Niro.
In Hitch, he played a professional dating consultant who counsels lonely guys seeking dates in New York City. Setting pudgy accountant Kevin James up with wealthy power-babe Amber Valetta, he then discovers that his methods don’t work for their inventor as he struggles to impose himself on gossip columnist Eva Mendes. Interestingly, Hitch would also see Smith enter the Guinness Book Of Records when he appeared at three premieres in 12 hours, at Manchester, Birmingham and London. His next outing would go further, both raking in the cash anddelivering Smith his second Oscar nomination.
This was The Pursuit Of Happyness, the true story of one Chris Gardner. Here an ambitious Smith’s investments fail, wife Thandie Newton leaves, and he’s left to both rebuild his life and support his young kid – played by his own son, Jaden. Very different would be Smith’s next production, the long-anticipated I Am Legend. In this remake of Charlton Heston’s The Omega Man, he plays Neville, apparently the last man on Earth, warding off a legion of vampires who seek his blood when night falls. As of Hancock (2008), he holds the recor His latest movie is a downbeat “Seven Pounds,” about redemption and body organs, fought bad weather and some worse reviews at the weekend box office.d for the actor to star in the most consecutive $100 million-grossing movies.
He also released a string of hit singles, often associated with his most recent movie, throughout the late 1990s. The most notable of these were his #1 hit theme song “Men in Black”, the #1 hit “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” (which made jiggy a catchphrase for a while in 1998), and “Just the Two of Us”, an affecting message to his young son. His first two solo albums went platinum, but his third, on Columbia Records, was a sales disappointment compared to his past efforts, and after a quick Greatest Hits release that was almost not advertised at all, he was dropped by the label. He signed a recording contract with Interscope Records and released the so far, moderately successful Lost andYour Last Name 7Found in 2005. Will Smith has been twice married: first to Sheree Zampino (1992-95), who he met in 1991 at a taping of A Different World, and with whom he had one child,Willard Smith III. Then there was actress Jada Pinkett (1997-now) with whom he has a son, Jaden Christopher Syre, and a daughter, Willow Camille Reign. He actually met Pinkett many years before they married, when she tried out for the part of his girlfriend in Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air (the part going, as mentioned, to Nia Long).
Come 2003, he and Jada would create and write a TV show, All Of Us, based on their own lives. Both would make occasional guest appearances. President Barack Obama stated that if a film were to ever be made about his life, he would have Smith play his part, because “he has the ears”.
Obama stated that the two have discussed a possibility of a film based on the 2008 election.[On December 1, 2008, TV Guide reported that Smith has been selected as one of America’s top ten most fascinating people of 2008 for a Barbara Walters ABC special that aired on December 4, 2008. It had been rumored that he had signed on as Agent J in the new film “Men in Black III”