Will Smith biography: 13 things about actor, rapper born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Professionally known as Will Smith, Willard Caroll Smith II is an actor, rapper, and film producer born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the United States to Willard Carroll Smith Sr. and Caroline Bright Smith. Willard Sr. is a refrigeration engineer and a U.S. Air Force veteran While Caroline was a Philadelphia school board administrator.
Will has an older sister named Pamela Smith. Their younger siblings Harry Smith and Ellen Smith are twins.
Raised Baptist in Wynnefield, Philadelphia, Will attended a private Catholic elementary school before going to Overbrook High School, which are both in Philadelphia. Here are 13 more things about him:
- As a hip-hop duo, he and Jeff Townes were called DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Their 1988 song “Parents Just Don’t Understand” won the Best Rap Performance at the 1989 Grammy Awards and their 1991 song “Summertime” won Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group at the 1992 Grammy Awards.
- From 1990 to 1996, he played a fictionalized version of himself in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
- In 1992, he made his film debut by playing Manny in “Where the Day Takes You“. Also in 1992, he married Sheree Zampino. She gave birth to their son Willard Carroll “Trey” Smith III in the same year. In 1994, he met Jada Pinkett Smith on the set of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”. In 1995, he and Zampino divorced. In 1997, he and Jada got married. Jada gave birth to their son Jaden Smith in 1998 and to their daughter Willow Smith in 2000.
- He played Mike Lowrey in “Bad Boys” in 1995, “Bad Boys II” in 2003, and “Bad Boys for Life” in 2020.
- He played James “Agent J” Edwards in “Men in Black” in 1997, “Men in Black II” in 2002, and “Men in Black 3” in 2012. His 1997 song “Men in Black” from the movie of the same title won Best Rap Solo Performance at the 1998 Grammy Awards. His 1998 song “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It” won Best Rap Solo Performance at the 1999 Grammy Awards.
- He released his debut studio album “Big Willie Style” in 1997. It was followed by this second, third and fourth studio albums “Willenium“, “Born to Reign” and “Lost and Found” in 1999, 2002, and 2005, respectively.
- For his role as Muhammad Ali in the 2001 film “Ali“, he was nominated Best Actor at the 74th Academy Awards but lost to “Training Day” actor Denzel Washington.
- For his role as Chris Gardner in the 2006 film “The Pursuit of Happyness“, he was nominated Best Actor at the 79th Academy Awards but lost to “The Last King of Scotland” actor Forest Whitaker.
- In 2008, he donated $4,600 to the U.S. presidential campaign of Barack Obama. After Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, he and Jada hosted a concert in Oslo, Norway to celebrate it.
- He and Jada separated but were still married when she met August Alsina in 2016. On July 10, 2020, she told him in her Facebook show “Red Table Talk” that she “got into a different type of entanglement” with Alsina.
- In 2018, he celebrated his 50th birthday by performing a bungee jump from a helicopter in the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA. In the same year, Jada revealed that she had been diagnosed with alopecia.
- Published on November 9, 2021, his memoir “Will” was written by “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” author Mark Mason.
- On March 27, 2022, he attended the 94th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California with Jada. When presenter Chris Rock joked about her shaved head with a reference to “G.I. Jane“, he walked onstage and slapped Rock. He later won his first Oscar award for his role as Richard Williams in the 2021 film “King Richard” and apologized to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) but not to Rock. The academy decided to ban him from its events or programs in person or virtually for 10 years from April 8, 2022.