Born in Philadelphia on September 25, 1968, Will Smith began his career as a rapper (aka The Fresh Prince) with friend Jeff Townes (aka DJ Jazzy Jeff).
The teen duo would go on to produce two platinum albums - with such
mega-hits as Girls Ain't Nothin' But Trouble, Summertime, Parents Just Don't Understand, and Gettin' Jiggy Wit It.
They also happened to distinguish themselves as the first recipients
ever to win a Grammy Award for rap.
Intelligent and charismatic, Smith caught the attention of television producers
who cast him in a starring role in the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1990, an instant hit that ran for six years.
Meanwhile, Smith was also expanding his acting career in film, with his first
screen appearance in Where the Day Takes You in 1992, followed by Made in America in 1993. That same year, it was his
starring role in Six Degrees Of Separation that secured his reputation as a serious actor.
Two years later, Smith first major commercial success was in the action
movie, Bad Boys and the following year he achieved superstar status in the sci-fi hit, Independence Day.
Smith's career continued to skyrocket with starring roles opposite Tommy Lee Jones
in the Men in Black sci-fi comedy films, and alongside Gene Hackman in the thriller, Enemy of the State.
From his early days as TV's Fresh Prince, Will Smith went on to appear in sci-fi Hollywood
blockbusters such as Independence Day, the Men in Black franchise, and I, Robot.
He later won an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in the title role in Ali, a much-anticipated biopic about boxing great Muhammad
Ali. In 2005, Smith could be seen in another big budget sci-fi role in I, Robot and that same year was the voice of "Oscar", the little fish who dreams big in the animated Shark Tale.
In 2006, the actor won for Favorite Male Action Movie Star at the 2005
People's Choice Awards for his performance in the sci-fi thriller I, Robot.
The following year, he was nominated Best Actor at the Golden Globe Awards for his serious acting turn in "The Pursuit
of Happyness" and, for the same performance, won a nod at the Oscars.
In 2007, another serious performance came in the futuristic thriller, I
Am Legend, followed by an offbeat comedy in which Smith plays a down-on-his-luck super hero in Hancock.
Late in 2008, the actor performed to less- than-glowing reviews in the Hollywood
drama, "Seven Pounds." Wrapping up his first major starring role in four years, Smith reprised his role as Agent J in Men in Black III in 2012. Smith later followed that project with another less-than well-received starring role in the sci-fi thriller After Earth which also starred his son, Jaden.
Off-screen, Smith is married actress Jada Pinkett Smith, a Hollywood couple who have been continually the subject of divorce rumors in 2012, although no official announcement has been made. Together they have a son, Jaden (his co-star in "The Pursuit of Happyness") and daughter, Willow, a pop singer. Smith also has a son, Willard "Trey" Smith III, from a previous marriage to actress Sharee Fletcher.