Will Smith - Biography

Will Smith

Willard Christopher Smith II (born September 25, 1968) is an African American actor and rapper. He was born and raised in the Wynnefield section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the second of four children. He often uses the line "West Philadelphia born and raised" to describe his roots. He is one of the few personalities in show business who has enjoyed success in the three major entertainment media in the United States: movies, television and the music industry.

Will Smith started his career as part of the pop-rap duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, performing humorous, radio-friendly songs, most notably "Parents Just Don't Understand". Smith was a charismatic and energetic performer, and in 1990 the NBC television network signed him up and built a sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, around him. Although he made a notable dramatic film debut in Six Degrees of Separation (in which he played totally against type as a gay con man) while still appearing in Fresh Prince, Smith's movie career took off with his role in Bad Boys (1995) along with co-star Martin Lawrence. After Fresh Prince came to an end in 1996, Smith began a successful solo career in music and simultaneously starred in several blockbuster movies, including Men in Black, Independence Day, Enemy of the State, Wild Wild West, Ali and Bad Boys II. His most recent film is 2005's Hitch. (Like Smith, Hitch co-star Kevin James starred in a sitcom named for royalty, The King of Queens.)

Smith was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of the boxer Muhammad Ali in Ali. (His Ali co-star Jamie Foxx, another actor/musician/comedian, later won the award for the 2004 Ray Charles biopic Ray.)

Smith also released a string of hit singles, often associated with his most recent movie, throughout the late 1990s. His first two solo albums went platinum, but his third, on Columbia Records, flopped, 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 Lost and Found in 2005.

Smith married actress Sharee Zampino in 1992. They had a son, Willard Christopher III, also known as "Trey." They divorced in 1995. Smith married actress Jada Pinkett in 1997. They have had two children: Jaden Christopher Syre (1998) and Willow Camille Reign (2000). Along with his brother Harry Smith, he owns Treyball Development Inc., a Beverly Hills–based company named for his first son.

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