There are few actors who become stars, and fewer still, who become stars loved by all. Such men are a rare sight, even in Hollywood. When people think about the stars who made their marks forever in the last two decades, very few names spring to mind. One of them has to be Will Smith. Here’s his biography.
Willard Carroll Smith Jr. has become a household name in the United States and an extremely popular figure with the audiences. His charismatic and multifaceted personality is much liked by almost everyone. He is one of the very few select actors who is unanimously loved by everyone. He is believed to be the most bankable star in Hollywood. Even his bad movies, which are panned by the critics, are financial successes, case in point being Wild Wild West and After Earth, both making profits.
Mr. Smith maintains that he was charismatic from his early life. This claim was exonerated by his school friends, who called him “Prince”, because he could charm his way out of the stickiest of problems. He was born Willard Carroll Smith Jr. to Willard Carroll Smith Sr. and Caroline Bright. His old man owned a refrigeration company, while his mother worked in the Philadelphia school board as an administrator. He attended the Overbrook High School and was considered a bright student, but wasn’t keen on pursuing education after his high school.
He had a natural inclination towards music and was good at it. After graduating from high school, he collaborated with Jeffrey A. Townes to produce and perform rap music. They were known as DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince. They came out with successful singles and won the first Grammy Award presented for Rap music in 1988.
The award and recognition brought him money, and as he was young, he spent the money frivolously. This made him almost bankrupt in a year. Fortunately, he met a producer named Benny Medina, who suggested that Smith take up acting and conceptualized a TV show around Smith’s real-life character. The result was the TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which was successful and ran for six seasons. He learned acting in the six years and was recognized by Hollywood producers. He was offered a lead role in the movie Six Degrees of Separation in the year 1993. Then came the role of Detective Mike Rowley in the movie Bad Boys directed by Michael Bay. This was a buddy cop movie where Smith starred alongside Martin Lawrence. The duo was extremely likable on screen and struck the funny bone in the audiences.
His major breakthrough came with the movie Independence Day where he portrayed the role of Captain Steve Hillard, a Marine pilot, who, with the rest of the planet is fighting off an alien invasion. The movie was a blockbuster and at the time was the second-highest grossing movie of all time. The movie propelled Will Smith to superstardom. People loved his role and his acting was improving movie by movie. It was also rare to see a music artist so proficient in acting. His mark was compounded with the movie Men in Black which was also a blockbuster.
There was no looking back after that, as every producer had his eyes on Smith. He became a sensation, loved by the critics and audiences alike. In 1999, he made a very controversial move in rejecting the role of Neo for the movie The Matrix. He decided to star in the movie Wild Wild West instead, which turned out to be a horrible movie. Ironically, The Matrix went on to become a sleeper hit, and Will Smith did regret his decision of refusing the role of Neo. Wild Wild West bombed at the office, but it did little to reduce Mr. Smith’s popularity.
In 2001, he was offered the role of Muhammad Ali in the biopic, Ali. He probably gave his best performance in the movie and bagged an Academy Award nomination. This movie convinced people that Will Smith was not just a pretty face with loads of charisma. He had the acting chops too. After Ali, he starred in the sequels of MIB and Bad Boys. His films raked in money, and he became the only person who had eight consecutive movies that made 100 million or more at the box office. He received another Oscar nomination for the movie The Pursuit of Happyness. It was a box office hit and well-received by the critics.
He is slated to appear in the sequels of the movies Hancock and Bad Boys. In addition to them, he is also starring in the movie Focus, alongside the upcoming actress Margot Robbie. The film has an interesting plot and the fans are eagerly waiting for it to release, especially after the glum and anticlimactic movie After Earth.
Smith married Sheree Zampino in 1992 and they had a son named Willard Carroll Smith III in the same year. They divorced in 1995.
Smith married Jada Koren Smith, whom he met on the sets of the show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. They married in the year 1997 and have two children. Jaden Smith was born in 1998 and the daughter Willow Smith in 2000.
Will Smith is known to be a very doting father and a family man. He has attributed his happiness to his wife and raising children. He resides with his family in Los Angeles, California.
He is liberal and very easygoing. He despises paparazzi but never misbehaves with them. The same holds true when over-enthusiastic fans corner him and ask for autographs and kisses. He obliges them politely or refuses gracefully.
He is known to be a vocal supporter of Barack Obama and same-sex marriage in the US.
He was brought up as a Baptist by his parents, and continues to practice Christianity. He supports all the faiths in the world. He is also known to make generous donations to churches and religious organizations.
People have been criticizing his recent choice of movies. The criticism is reasonable, since the audience now know how well Will Smith can act. And with him signing movies with weak scripts and mindless popcorn flicks does break the hearts of his fans. But they remain hopeful that Will will bounce back and give us another stellar performance, that will make us laugh, cry, and cheer. As they say, where there is a Will, there is a way (read as blockbuster)!