The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air launched Will Smith to stardom in 1990 celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Take a look at what the cast of the NBC sitcom has been up to since leaving the Banks family’s Bel-Air mansion.
Will Smith has become a household name in Hollywood since first starting out as a hip hop musician and landing his breakthrough TV role as a fictionalized version of himself on the NBC sitcom. Smith is best known for starring in the Men in Black and Bad Boys franchises, The Pursuit of Happyness (for which he earned as Oscar nom), I Am Legend, and I, Robot. He will appear next in Concussion, a fact-based drama about the NFL’s attempts to cover-up a chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) epidemic among its players, and 2016’s Suicide Squad.
Alfonso Ribeiro, best known for playing the role of Will’s dorky and loveable cousin Carlton Banks onFresh Prince of Bel-Air, has since hosted game shows Catch 21 and Spell-Mageddon and participated as a contestant on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here and Dancing with the Stars (he and partner Witney Carson won season 19).
JEFFREY ALLEN TOWNES/DJ JAZZY JEFF
Before Jeffrey “Jazz” Townes played Will’s best friend on the show, he was active on the music scene as one half of the duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, along with Will Smith (the music partners won two Grammy awards for their hits “Parents Just Don’t Understand” and “Summertime”). Since leaving the series, Townes has released several EPs and mixtapes, including 2002’s The Magnificent, 2007’s The Return of Hip Hop and 2012’s LRG Life Colors.
Since starring as the dim-witted Hilary Banks, Karyn Parsons has had guest roles on TV shows such as Gulliver’s Travels, Melrose Place and The Job, in which she starred alongside Denis Leary. Though she hasn’t appeared onscreen after The Job ended in 2002, Parsons is currently active as the founder of Sweet Blackberry, a kickstarter-funded initiative which shares triumphant stories of African-American achievement to children through illustrative film.
Tatyana Ali starred as the Banks household’s teenage daughter Ashley and has since landed roles on TV shows such as The Young and the Restless, Love That Girl! and Second Generation Wayans. Ali, who has also had a successful music career, most recently made a cameo on Comedy Central’s sketch series Key & Peele.
James Avery portrayed the Banks family’s uptight but soft-hearted patriarch Philip Banks on the sitcom and went on to nab roles on That ‘70s Show, The Closer, Grey’s Anatomy and Sherri. On Dec. 31, 2014, Avery passed away due to complications from open heart surgery. Will Smith, AlfonsoRibeiro, Tatyana Ali, Tyra Banks and other co-stars mourned his passing after the news broke on New Year’s Day.”Some of my greatest lessons in Acting, Living and being a respectable human being came through James Avery. Every young man needs an Uncle Phil. Rest in Peace,” Smith wrote on his Facebook page.
DAPHNE MAXWELL REID
Since starring as Vivan Banks from 1993-1996 (replacing Janet Hubert, who had played the character in earlier seasons), Daphne Maxwell Reid has had roles on Sister, Sister, UPN’s Eve and comedy series Let’s Stay Together. Currently, she serves as host of Virginia Currents, a local historical show which airs in central Virginia on PBS.
From 1990 to 1993, Janet Hubert played the role of Will’s aunt Vivian Banks (she was replaced byDaphne Maxwell Reid in later seasons). Since leaving the show halfway through its six-season run, Hubert has had guest stints on Gilmore Girls, The Bernie Mac Show, One Life to Live and The Job (in which she starred alongside Fresh Prince co-star Karyn Parsons).
Best known for playing the role of the Banks family’s sarcastically witty butler Geoffrey, JosephMarcell has appeared in the CBS series The Bold and the Beautiful and numerous films released in the U.K. (Much Ado About Nothing, That Samba Thing) since Fresh Prince ended in 1996. His next project, a Shakespeare film adaptations titled Caesar, is currently in pre-production.
Vernee Watson-Johnson, who played Will’s mother and Vivian Banks’ older sister Viola “Vy” Smith, has had a guest arc on a slew of other popular TV series since Fresh Prince of Bel-Air‘s end in 1996, including Dexter, Days of Our Lives, The Big Bang Theory, Key & Peele, Two and a Half Men, and most recently, Fresh Off the Boat.
Ross Bagley was just 6 years old when he played the role of Nicky Banks on the NBC series. Since then, the actor has appeared in guest roles on Providence and Judging Amy and graduated from California State University at Northridge with a degree in cinema and television arts. Bagley will appear next in upcoming films Gilded Cage and Dead Ringer, both in post-production stages.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter