September 25, 1968
Will Smith has starred in two of the ten all-time top grossing films worldwide: 1997ís
summer blockbuster Men in Black, for which he also recorded the Grammy-winning title
song and 1996's Independence Day. Smithís box-office power was recognized by NATO/ShoWest
when he was honored as the "Male Star of Tomorrow" in 1995 and, just two years later, with their International Box
Office Achievement Award. In 1999 the organization named him "Male Star of the Year."
In addition, he was also selected "1999 Entertainer of the Year" by the NAACP Image Awards.
Smith began his career in the music industry as rapper "Fresh Prince", who along with
his partner, DJ Jazzy Jeff, recorded three platinum albums which went on to win two
Grammys and three American Music Awards.
Before his walk with fame, Will grew up with his three siblings [older sister, Pam and his
younger twin siblings, Harry and Ellen] in Philly. Even though Will's parents seperated when
Will was thirteen, they never let their seperation interfere with raising their family. Even
as a child Will liked playing the fool at parties and family gatherings, but at the same time
he took great interest in his academic studies, especially math and science, becoming such a whiz
at Overbrook High School that he was offered a scholarship in computer science to MIT. But his music
took center stage. In 1998 Smith went on to release his first solo album, Big Willie Style, for which
he won a Grammy, three World Music Awards and four American Music Awards.
Chosen by People Magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world, the six foot two
Smith made the transition into television as the star of "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air," which
wrapped its sixth and final season in 1996. Interestingly, prior to doing the TV pilot, Smith's
only experience in front of a camera had been his music videos. Producer Quincy Jones sold NBC
on both Smith and the show, though, "basically everyone was just taking Quincy's word that I
could do this...," Smith expressed in the past, "...even me." The success of the show gave
Will the confidence to set his sights on feature films. Determined to succeed, he took acting
lessons whenever he could and studied hours of videotape of other comic actors, such as Eddie
Murphy, Robin Williams and Tom Hanks, all of whom had successfully made the transition from television to
He formed Overbrook Entertainment, a production company with a first-look motion picture and
television deal at Universal Pictures. Overbrook also has a record label whose product is
distributed by Interscope.
In 1992 Will married Sheree Zampino, with whom he had son, Trey. They were later divorced in
1995. He met wife Pinkett when she tried out for the role of his girlfriend on Fresh Prince
of Bel-Air in 1990. She didn't get the part, but she got Will. They married in December 1997, and on July 8, 1998 their son, Jaden Christopher Syre was born.
Photo © Armando Gallo/Retna
Bio K. Kamarauskas ©2002 - [Please let us know of any errors]
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