Willard Christopher “Will” Smith, Jr. was born on September 25, 1968 in West Philadelphia, and also spent time in Germantown in Northwest Philadelphia, is an American actor, film producer and rapper. He has enjoyed success in music, television and film. In April 2007, Newsweek called him the most powerful actor on the planet. Smith has been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, two Academy Awards, and has won multiple Grammy Awards.
His mother, Caroline, was a school administrator who worked for the Philadelphia school board, and his father, Willard Christopher Smith, Sr., was a refrigeration engineer. He was raised Baptist. His parents divorced when he was 13.
In the late 1980s, Smith achieved modest fame as a rapper under the name The Fresh Prince. In 1990, his popularity increased dramatically when he starred in the popular television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The show ran for nearly six years (1990–1996) on NBC and has been syndicated consistently on various networks since then. In the mid-1990s, Smith transitioned from television to film, and ultimately starred in numerous blockbuster films that received broad box office success. In fact, he is the only actor in history to have eight consecutive films gross over $100 million in the domestic box office as well as being the only actor to have eight consecutive films in which he starred open at the #1 spot in the domestic box office tally.
Fourteen of the 19 fiction films he has acted in have accumulated worldwide gross earnings of over $100 million, and 4 of them took in over $500 million in global box office receipts. His most financially successful films have been Bad Boys, Bad Boys II, Independence Day, Men in Black, Men in Black II, I, Robot, The Pursuit of Happyness, I Am Legend, Hancock, Wild Wild West, Enemy of the State, Shark Tale, Hitch and Seven Pounds. He also earned critical praise for his performances in Six Degrees of Separation, Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness, receiving Best Actor Oscar nominations for the latter two.
Smith married Sheree Zampino in 1992. They had a son, Willard Christopher Smith III, also known as “Trey”, but divorced in 1995. Smith married actress Jada Pinkett in 1997. Together they have had two children: Jaden Christopher Syre (born 1998), his co-star in The Pursuit of Happyness, and Willow Camille Reign (born 2000), who appeared as his daughter in “I Am Legend”.
Smith was consistently listed in Fortune Magazine’s “Richest 40” list of the forty wealthiest Americans under the age of 40. Smith and his family reside on Star Island in Miami Beach, Florida and in Los Angeles, Stockholm, Sweden and Philadelphia.