Willard C. Smith Jr. was born on September 25, 1968 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Willard Jr. was the second of four children born to parents Caroline and Willard.

Growing up in Philadelphia, Will started training his musical abilities early, starting to rap at the age of 12. One of his teachers noticed Will's remarkable ability to charm his way out of trouble, and gave him the nickname "Prince". Will kept the nickname, and after meeting Jeff Townes at a party in 1981, they formed a hip-hop duo - Will Smith becoming "The Fresh Prince", and Jeff Townes becoming "DJ Jazzy Jeff". In 1988, "He's the DJ; I'm the Rapper" hit store shelves, and went on to win a Grammy and an American Music Award.

After meeting a Warner Bros. executive named Benny Medina, Will was cast as the star of a new sitcom about a teenager from Philadelphia sent to live with wealthy relatives in Bel Air, California. "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" first aired in 1990 and lasted for six years.

While attending Overbrook High School in Windfield, Pennsylvania, Will was eventually offered an MIT scholarship. With Will setting his sights on his acting career, he declined the scholarship.

With his music career still on the rise after winning another Grammy and American Music Award for the song Summertime from the album "Home Base", Will became busier by the year. He married Sheree Zampino in 1992, and shortly after had his first child - Willard C. "Trey" Smith III.

Will co-starred in "Six Degrees of Separation" in 1993, releasing his album "Code Red" the same year. Two years later, Will teamed up with Martin Lawrence for the 1995 blockbuster "Bad Boys". Will's marriage to Sheree Zampino ended that year.

Not showing any signs of slowing his big-screen career, Will starred in "Independence Day" in 1996 just as "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" left the airwaves.

In 1997, Will released his first album in four years entitled "Big Willie Style". By the mid 1990s, Will Smith had established himself as being both a solid actor and talented musician, and in 1997, he used both his talents to star in, and headline the soundtrack to the sci-fi/comedy "Men in Black". Will also married his current wife, Jada Pinkett, the same year. The "Men in Black" theme won a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance, and Will went on to co-star in "Enemy of the State" in 1998.

1998 also produced Will's second son, Jaden Christopher Syre Smith, born on July 8. The next year, Will won yet another Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance for the song "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It". The same year, Will released his latest album entitled "Willennium".

Will's latest feature film projects include "Ali"; the story of famed boxer Muhammed Ali, and Men in Black II.

Will Smith was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 25th, 1968. Smith spent most of his young life in Philly, with a diverse group of friends. In his own words he "grew up in a Baptist household, went to a Catholic school, lived in a predominately Jewish neighborhood, and hung out with Muslim kids." While Will Smith was always the class clown, he also turned out to be quite intelligent. He excelled in writing, as well as math and the sciences.

Will's parents were both very musical and passed that onto their son. He played piano, both at home and at school. But Smith's interests lay in the underground scene of rap. When he was eighteen, he and Jeff Townes teamed up and became "The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff". Before he was twenty years old, he had signed a record deal.

In 1988, at the Grammys, Will and Jeff won the first ever Grammy award for Rap. Two years later, they picked up another Grammy. And from there, Smith was a millionaire. But he ended up losing it all due to a scandal with taxes. Instead of giving up, Smith looked towards another dream of his. Acting. Luck got him a meeting with Benny Medina, a Warner Brothers executive who was playing with a sitcom about a teen, taken off the streets by rich relatives. It was Medina's childhood story and Smith seemed the perfect part for it.

Thus, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was created. And with the success of Fresh Prince, it wasn't long before Smith wanted to move into the big screen. And he did. He hit a couple small parts with Where the Day Takes You and Made in America, before he got the lead role in Six Degrees of Separation. That movie gave Smith the critical acclaim he desired and made him seem the serious actor that he could be.

In 1995, Will Smith decided that he was done with "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air". So, while the show was still huge, Smith left it without a seventh season. After his success with Independence Day, Smith got a call from Steven Spielberg telling him that he would be starring in his next movie. Smith couldn't say no. Will Smith became Agent Jay of the hit Men in Black.

But more then that, Men in Black gave Smith a chance to get back into what had started his career. Rap. Having seen how it had degenerated with people like Eminem. This was Will's real chance as a musician. He had the money. He had the fame. Now, it was time to prove that it wasn't just luck that got him where he was. And he most certainly did. Big Willie Style was a huge success. Since then, he's released almost a dozen more albums and is still musically strong.

Now, Will Smith is still a big name in Hollywood. Starring in movies like I, Robot and Hitch, it is obvious that he can hold the camera's interest. Smith has shown a tendency to break barriers as both a musician and an actor. And although nothing's certain, he definitely has a long way to go before he's done.

Partial discography
  • Rock the House (1987) (The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff)
  • He's the DJ; I'm the Rapper (1988) (The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff)
  • And In This Corner... (1989) (The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff)
  • Homebase (1991) (The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff)
  • Code: Red (1993) (The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff)
  • Big Willie Style (1997)
  • Just the Two of Us (1998)
  • Greatest Hits (1998) (The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff)
  • Willennium (1999)
  • Before the Willennium (2000) (The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff)
  • Freakin' It (2000)
  • Maximum Will Smith (2000)
  • Born to Reign (2002)
  • Will Smith's Greatest Hits (2002)
  • Platinum and Gold Collection (2003) (The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff)
  • Lost and Found (2005)
Partial filmography
"Scene: Will Smith" by Dave Stern. Aladdin Paperbacks.

Dedicated to wertperch who happens to be getting married today!

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