Smith began rapping at parties when he was 12
Will Smith was the second of four children of Caroline (works for the school board) and Willard Smith Sr., owner of a refrigeration company. He grew up in middle class West Philadelphia and got the nickname 'Prince' because of the way he could charm is way out of trouble. Pursuing music, he met Jeff Townes at a party and they soon began performing together as DJ.Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Will did so well in school that M.I.T. offered him a scholarship, which he refused in order to pursue a show-business career. When the duo took off in popularity, Smith (a millionaire by age eighteen) made, and spent a lot of money on a house, cars and jewelry. But Smith was looking for something new when, in 1989, he met Benny Medina, who had an idea for a sitcom based on his life in Beverly Hills. Smith loved the idea as did NBC which put on the 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'.
The plot was simple - Will basically played himself; a street-smart West Phily kid transplanted to Beverly Hills. Produced by Quincy Jones, the series' success
enabled Smith to not only remedy his I.O.U.s, but also establish a
well-connected professional family, which includes much of Hollywood's
African-American royalty: Jones, Bill Cosby, Whoopi Goldberg, Sidney
Poitier, and Denzel Washington. The series
lasted 6 years. During that time, he ventured into movies where the critics took note of him in Six Degrees of Separation
(1993). With the success that came with the action picture Bad Boys (1995), Will's movie career was set.
Soon followed the Blockbuster movie Independence Day (1996) where he plays the alien battling Marine Corps Captain Steven
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