Will Smith Biography – Fun Facts
1) Will Smith, full name ‘Willard Christopher Smith Jr.’ was born on September 25, 1968 in West Philadelphia.
His father worked as a refrigeration engineer while his mother Caroline worked for the Philadelphia school board as a school administrator.
Smith was raised in a Baptist environment but because of his middle class upbringing, he attended the Catholic Overbrook High School.
2) While growing up in West Philadelphia, Smith was exposed to a neighborhood that was a melting pot of different cultures including Orthodox Jews and Muslims.
This, combined with a charming personality and a quick tongue, was able to get Will out of a number of tight spots and he eventually earned himself the nickname of ‘Prince’.
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3) Will Smith’s parents were separated when he was 13 years old but they were officially divorced in 2000.
4) At the age of 12, Smith started rapping and while he followed the styles of Grandmaster Flash, he introduced humor into his own style.
When he was 16, he met a DJ named Jeff Townes at a party and together they started rapping using the stage names of DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince.
5) The rapping duo did not indulge themselves into Gangsta Rap rather they produced music that was clean and included rap about teenage preoccupations in middle class America.
Ready Rock C joined the duo as a human beat box and together, the trio produced radio friendly songs such as ‘Summertime’ and ‘Parents Just Don’t Understand’.
6) In 1988, their first album received widespread critical acclaim and won the Grammy Award in the category for Rap owing to their entertaining singles.
However shortly after this, Will Smith was charged by the Internal Revenue Service with $2.8 million of unpaid taxes.
Smith went bankrupt when the authorities seized his possessions and income.
7) In 1990, Will Smith made the crossover into acting when the television network NBC created the sitcom ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ and signed Will Smith contractually into the sitcom.
Will Smith drew from his experiences living in Philadelphia in the sitcom in which he plays a street-smart kid who is sent to California to live with his rich relatives.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was a huge success, ran for six seasons and immediately pushed forth Smith as one of the rising stars of Hollywood.
8) During his time with the sitcom, Will Smith continued to produce music with Towne including the single ‘Ring My Bell’ with ‘Boom! Shake the Room’ being one of the striking singles on their last album Code Red released in 1993.
9) Will Smith made the second crossover into feature films right after this album in 1993, when he got roles in movies like ‘Where The Day Takes You’, ‘Made in America’ and ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ in which he plays a street-smart and charming kid who moves around the rich crowd and has a gay hustler.
10) Smith’s second major feature film role was in the 1995 movie ‘Bad Boys’ which was a high-budget action movie in which he starred opposite Martin Lawrence.
The main reason why this movie brought instant stardom for Smith was that unlike other cop movies, Smith, an African- American actor, was cast as a serious and smooth police officer.
11) Smith’s reputation continued to flourish in the film industry when he starred in ‘Independence Day’, which was a science fiction and in which Smith played an air force pilot who is leading the counter attack against the alien armies.
Smith’s charm and his humorous and heroic one-liners made him a favorite with moviegoers.
12) Will Smith’s stream of Hollywood blockbusters continued with the release of the comic science fiction film ‘Men in Black’ and this conspiracy thriller ‘Enemy of the State’.
This movie got Smith a nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture in the NAACP Image Awards.
13) Critical acclaim returned for Smith when he portrayed the boxing legend Mohammad Ali in 2001’s movie ‘Ali’.
Many consider this as the best performance of Smith’s life who put in hours of training and discipline to mold himself into the film’s character.
14) In 1992, Smith married Sheree Zampino with whom he had a son named Trey Smith.
However, in 1995 they got divorced and in 1997, Smith married Jada Pinkett.
From his second marriage, Smith has two children named Jaden Christopher Syre and Willow Camille Reign.
The Smith family owns homes in Philadelphia, Stockholm, Florida and Los Angeles.
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15) Every year, Will Smith is known to take his mother on vacation normally to Canyon Ranch spa in Tucson, Arizona.
He is also known to be an avid fan of chess and video games.
16) In 2012, Will Smith was known to be one of the top fundraisers for Obama’s campaign and raised more than $500,000 by hosting a fundraiser at his own home.
He also supported the legalization of same sex marriage as part of President Obama’s endorsement.
17) In December 2009, Will Smith celebrated Obama’s winning of the Nobel Prize by hosting The Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway.
He is also a regular contributor towards many charities; in 2007, his donated $1.3 million that went to Christian ministries, Scientology organizations, mosque in Los Angeles, the Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Center in Israel and other churches and schools.
18) Smith became part of the Guinness Book of World Records in 2005 when he attended three world premieres within 24 hours.
19) Some of the recent movie successes of Smith include starring in ‘I, Robot’ in 2004, ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’ in 2006 which was a massive success and got him his second Oscar Award for Best Actor, ‘I Am Legend’ in 2007 and ‘Seven Pounds’ in 2008.
20) Will Smith has pursued the study of many religions including the beliefs of Scientology.
He is also starring alongside his son Jaden in the upcoming 2013 movie ‘After Earth’ that is the second movie in which he is appearing with his son.