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Will Smith's Biography

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Will Smith was born Willard Christopher Smith on 25 September 1968 in Philadelphia.

He was nicknamed 'Prince' by teachers. He turned down a place at Massachusetts Institute of Technology to concentrate on his rapping, which he had started at the age of twelve.

As part of the rap duo DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Will Smith enjoyed commercial and critical success in 1988 with 'He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper' and 'Parents Just Don't Understand'.

Will Smith originally made his acting name on television, in the long-running sitcom 'The Fresh Prince of Bel Air'.

Will Smith made his movie debut in 1992 with Mark Rocco's 'Where The Day Takes You'. A year later he gave a strong performance in Schepisi's powerful 'Six Degrees Of Separation'.

Also in 1993 Will Smith made his final album with DJ Jazzy Jeff, 'Boom! Shake The Room', which hit number 1 in the UK.

In the 1990s Will Smith rose to super-stardom in films like 'Bad Boys' (1995), 'Independence Day' (1996) and 'Men In Black' (1997), for which Smith also recorded the chart-topping theme tune.

Smith turned in another excellent performance in Tony Scott's thrilling 'Enemy of the State' (1998), and again hit form in 'Ali' (2001), Michael Mann's biopic of Muhammad Ali.

In February 2005 Will Smith achieved an amazing feat when the romantic comedy, 'Hitch' topped the North American box office. The film was the fifth Will Smith film in a row to go straight to number one. The others were 'Shark Tale', 'I, Robot', 'Bad Boys II' and 'Men In Black II'.

Will Smith has come to terms with the way he balances his acting and his rapping. He told The Times in March 2005:

"There was a point when I had to choose between rapping and acting. My new album [Lost and Found] addresses the idea that there's a much greater rapper inside of me that doesn't get to see the light of day too often ... I've found a new style of making records that's conducive to my life ..."

Will Smith went on to say that the new album will contain a track called Mr Nice Guy, "and in it I respond to a few people who have had negative things to say about me," amongst whom Will Smith includes Eminem.

Will Smith first marriage was to Sheree Smith. He is now married to Jada Pinkett.

Smith came 13th in the Forbes list of the most powerful celebrities 2005.

Will Smith came fifth in Heat Readers' vote in 2005 for best film performance.

Smith came 51st in Channel 4's list of the 100 Greatest Movie Stars.

In 2007, the science fiction thriller I Am Legend, which starred Will Smith, secured a record opening at the North American box office for a December.

In the first week of July 2008, Will Smith's film Hancock made its debut at number one in the North American box office chart.

It was the fifth time that Will Smith topped the box office charts on the USA's independence day break and it was his eighth number one debut overall, leading many to believe that Will Smith was the most bankable star of the early 21st century.

In February 2009, Will Smith was named Hollywood's most bankable star in a survey published by Forbes.com.

In 2010 Will Smith's son Jaden, aged 12, starred alongside Jackie Chan in the remake of The Karate Kid. Jaden's other credits had already included appearing with his father in The Pursuit of Happyness.

Will Smith's subsequent films included Focus, Collateral Beauty, Suicide Squad and King Richard (for which he won an Oscar for best actor).

In 2022, Will Smith slapped Chris Rock in the face at the Oscars.

He was cast in Emacipation, scheduled to be released towards the end of 2022.

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