Award-winning actor Will Smith was born on September 25, 1968 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One of the most successful and famous stars in modern American entertainment history, he has been nominated for Academy Awards and Golden Globes, and has won Grammy Awards for his work as a hip-hop artist. As he attended Overbrook High School in West Philadelphia, he began collaborating with Jeff Townes (a.k.a. D.J. Jazzy Jeff) in producing hip-hop and rap music, coining the moniker The Fresh Prince.
Will Smith became broke during the 1990s, but as luck would have it, he was signed to a contract with NBC. He starred in the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and launched his acting career. He played the fictional Will Smith, an easygoing womanizer and schemer who grows up to be a responsible person. The show ended in 1996, and Smith decided to begin a solo music career. He landed roles on films, however, and was seen on blockbusters like Independence Day, and Men in Black in 1997. This established his career as a bankable star in the streets of Hollywood. Despite the failure of his film Wild Wild West, Smith continued to star in a number of box office successes. He reprised his role of Agent J in Men in Black II, appeared in Bad Boys II, and was cast alongside Eva Mendes and Kevin James in the romantic comedy Hitch. He was also cast as two title characters, one in The Legend of Bagger Vance and another in Ali. He earned an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of the boxer Muhammad Ali in the biopic. In 2004, he accepted the role of Del Spooner in the sci-fi thriller I, Robot. He lent his voice to the animated character Oscar in Shark Tale and accepted a role in The Pursuit of Happyness in 2006. This earned him another Best Actor Oscar nomination. He soon starred in the film I Am Legend, and played the lead character in the 2008 fantasy comedy Han!$#!#. Will Smith is also known for releasing several hit singles, with most of them on the soundtracks of his films. He is also listed in the 2005 Guinness Book of World Records, for attending a record-breaking three premieres in a span of 24 hours.
(Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)