Will Smith

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Will Smith at Comic-Con (2017)
Signature of Will Smith

Willard Carroll "Will" Smith Jr. [ smɪθ ] (born September 25, 1968 in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania ) is an American actor , film producer and rapper . In the late 1980s, he became famous as a rapper under the name The Fresh Prince . Smith had his breakthrough as an actor in the internationally successful sitcom The Prince of Bel-Air , which ran from 1990 to 1996 on NBC . Since 1996, Smith has appeared almost exclusively in films. He received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in 2002 and 2007 for his roles in Ali and The Pursuit of Happiness . He has also been nominated for the Golden Globe several times and is a four-time Grammy Award winner.


Will Smith grew up as the second eldest of four siblings in a middle-class family in West Philadelphia . His father William C. Smith Sr., an engineer for refrigeration , was at that time manufacturer of refrigeration equipment. His mother, Caroline Smith, was a teacher .

From 1992 to 1995 he was married to Sheree Zampino, with whom he has a son (Trey Smith, * 1992). He has been married to singer and actress Jada Pinkett Smith since 1997 . She was supposed to play his girlfriend in the series The Prince of Bel-Air , but was rejected on the grounds that she was too short with her 1.52 meters (Will Smith is 1.88 meters tall). They have a son Jaden , who also works as an actor, and a daughter Willow , who made her debut in the 2007 film I Am Legend .

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith with their children Jaden and Willow (2009)

In 2017 he was appointed to the competition jury of the 70th Cannes Film Festival .



Smith had been a rapper since he was twelve. First he worked as a DJ in various clubs in West Philadelphia and met Jeff Townes at a party . With him he played a few albums under the name DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince . With him, he won the first hip-hop - Grammy ever for the song Parents Just Do not Understand . The duo received another Grammy for Summertime .

His lyrics avoid vulgar expressions. The word " Fuck " has only appeared once, namely in the song Tell Me Why (on the album Lost and Found ), where he ultimately left it off.

The rapper Bow Wow called Smith a "bubble gum rapper", whereupon Smith replied that he "owed no answer to an immature child" (original "I don't have to respond to an immature child.") .

For some films in which he was involved as an actor, he also contributed the official songs, such as Wild Wild West (a rap version of "I Whish" by Stevie Wonder ) and Men in Black , in which his songs each were used during the film's credits .


Smith was early on in his career by spending a lot of money and paying too little income tax . The IRS eventually imposed a tax payment of 2.8 million dollars against Smith, he that by a large part of his possessions lost and his income was seized. Smith was near bankruptcy in 1990 when Benny Medina, a manager at Warner Brothers , became aware of him. He thought there was something funny and TV-ready about the "naive, cheeky Will from Philadelphia" story in Beverly Hills . As a result, based on Smith's career, the NBC television series The Prince of Bel-Air was conceived, which was successfully produced from 1990 to 1996. Although Smith had a notable screen debut in Life - A Six-Pack in 1993, it was only in the buddy movie Bad Boys that he became known to a wide audience as a screen actor. His final worldwide breakthrough came with the films Independence Day (1996) and Men in Black (1997).

Will Smith (1993)

The Matrix makers Lilly and Lana Wachowski offered him the leading role of Neo in the Matrix trilogy in 1999 . Smith, however, turned down the role to instead star in Wild Wild West . In doing so, he helped Keanu Reeves to his most successful role to date. Smith later commented on Wild Wild West that he "felt bad about the commercial selling the movie as a good movie when it was a bad movie".

The film Ali shows the biography of the boxer legend Muhammad Ali alias Cassius Clay. The role earned Smith an Oscar nomination. In the film The Pursuit of Happiness , he acted alongside his son Jaden. For his acting achievements he was nominated for the second time for the Oscar, which he again did not receive. In 2004 he lent his voice to the tiny fish Oscar in Big Sharks - Small Fish .

On August 5, 2016, David Ayer's comic book adaptation, Suicide Squad, hit American cinemas, in which Smith played the role of sniper and assassin Deadshot .

In July 2017, it was announced that Smith would play the role of Genie in the real-life version of the Disney film Aladdin .

Between June 2007 and June 2008, Smith received $ 80 million in gages , ahead of Johnny Depp ($ 72 million), Eddie Murphy and Mike Myers ($ 55 million each ), according to Forbes Magazine. became the best-paid Hollywood actor. At the same time, Will Smith was one of the safest crowd pullers at the time. For example, he was voted “Biggest Cashier Star of the Year” in 2008 by American cinema owners. With the exception of Men in Black 3 , however, he has not had any major box office hits since 2009 .

Between 1997 and 1999 Will Smith founded the production company Overbrook Entertainment , which is active in the fields of music and television entertainment as well as in the field of film production and has since produced films in which Will Smith or relatives star.

Will Smith is currently being dubbed in the German versions of his films by Jan Odle , who also spoke to him in the sitcom The Prince of Bel-Air . He was voiced by Leon Boden in his previous films .


Smith in 2011


There are many positive statements about Scientology from Will Smith . He and his wife are close friends of the avowed Scientologist Tom Cruise . Smith denies affiliation with the Church of Scientology but said, "I just think a lot of the ideas behind Scientology are great, revolutionary, and non-religious." After Jada contributed to Collateral with Cruise in 2004 , that donated Couple of $ 20,000 in Scientology's educational campaign called HELP, The Hollywood Education and Literacy Program, which is the basis of Scientology's home-schooling system. In May 2008 Smith opened a school where six Scientologists were employed as teachers and, among other things, they were taught according to the study tech model developed by L. Ron Hubbard . The school has since closed.

In September 2008, Smith distanced himself from Scientology, and he also met with activists of the protest movement " Anonymous ". He also contradicted the rumor that the teachings of Scientology were being taught at the private school he and his wife Jada founded. At the end of 2008, he made another donation of 122,500 US dollars to Scientology, but he once again stated that he was not a member of the Church of Scientology. In addition to several Scientology organizations, Smith made donations to Christian, Muslim and Jewish organizations, totaling $ 1.3 million. In 2013, he and his son starred in the film After Earth , which is seen as a vehicle for spreading Scientology messages.


In October 2011, Smith acquired a minority stake in the Philadelphia 76ers NBA team, making him a co-owner of his hometown basketball team.






As a musician and actor, Will Smith has been awarded or nominated for various awards. He was awarded a Grammy Award in 1988 . His achievements as a blockbuster actor were recognized, for example, with the Saturn Award or the MTV Movie Award . Since 2001 he has also acted as a character actor and has received various Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.

So far, Smith has received over 47 prizes and over 90 nominations for his achievements as a musician and actor. The following overview shows the most popular prices.

Cinematic (selection)


Golden Globe Award

Saturn Award

MTV Movie Awards

  • 1996 : Nominated in the category Best Film Couple for Bad Boys - Tough Boys together with Martin Lawrence
  • 1997 : Nominated for Best Actor for Independence Day
  • 1997 : Awarded in the category Best Film Kiss for Independence Day together with Vivica A. Fox
  • 1998 : Nominated for Best Couple in Movies for Men in Black with Tommy Lee Jones
  • 1998 : Nominated for Best Comedian for Men in Black
  • 1998 : Awarded Best Fight Sequence for Men in Black
  • 1999 : Nominated for Best Actor for Der Staatsfeind Nr. 1
  • 2002 : Awarded Best Actor for Ali
  • 2004 : Nominated in the Best On-Screen Team category for Bad Boys II together with Martin Lawrence
  • 2005 : Nominated for Best Actor for Hitch - The Date Doctor
  • 2005 : Nominated for Best Comedic Appearance for Hitch - The Date Doctor
  • 2007 : Nominated in the Best Presentation category for The Pursuit of Happiness
  • 2008 : Awarded Best Actor for I Am Legend
  • 2014 : Nominated in the Best Fighting Scene category for Anchorman - The Legend Returns as part of a collective


  • 2005 : Awarded in the honorary award category

Golden Raspberry

Teen Choice Award

  • 2019 : Awarded for Best Actor in a Sci-Fi / Fantasy Film for Aladdin

Musical (selection)

Grammy Award

  • 1989 : Awarded in the category Best Rap Performance for Parents Just Don't Understand (as DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince )
  • 1992 : Awarded in the category of best rap performance for two or as a group for Summertime (as DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince )
  • 1998 : Awarded in the category of best solo performance - Rap for Men in Black
  • 1999 : Awarded for Best Solo Performance - Rap for Gettin 'Jiggy Wit' It

MTV Europe Music Awards

  • 1997 : Awarded in the Best Rap category

MTV Video Music Award

  • 1989 : Awarded Best Rap Video for Parents Just Don't Understand
  • 1997 : Awarded for Best Video for a Film for Men In Black
  • 1998 : Awarded for Best Male Video Contribution for Just The Two Of Us
  • 1998 : Awarded Best Rap Video for Gettin 'Jiggy Wit It
  • 1999 : Awarded for Best Male Video Post for Miami

MTV Movie Awards

  • 1998 : Awarded for Best Movie Song for Men in Black

Golden Raspberry

Web links

Commons : Will Smith  - Collection of Pictures, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Lisa Iannucci: Will Smith: A Biography , Greenwood Publishing Group, Portsmouth (NH) 2009. ISBN 978-0-313-37611-5 . (P. 3)
  2. ^ Steve Kroft interviewed Will Smith in 60 Minutes , CBS, December 2, 2007
  3. JD Knapp: 'Aladdin': Disney Casts Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott , Variety . July 15, 2017. Retrieved March 4, 2018. 
  4. Wesley Johnson: Hollywood's Top Earners. Press Association Newsfile, July 23, 2008, 4:38 PM BST.
  5. Actor Will Smith - His Will Be Done . In: Süddeutsche.de . Archived from the original on January 22, 2009. Retrieved January 14, 2009.
  6. ^ Will and Jada not Scientologists , MSN Entertainment UK. March 19, 2008. Archived from the original on May 10, 2009. 
  7. ^ Roger Friedman: Will Smith's Charities Include Scientology , FOX News . December 14, 2007. Archived from the original on June 8, 2012. Retrieved on February 22, 2008. 
  8. ^ Former senior executive of the religion that counts Tom Cruise and John Travolta among its celebrity flock , Daily Mail , March 5, 2015
  9. ^ Will Smith Clears the Air , FOX News. Archived from the original on October 9, 2008. Retrieved October 7, 2008. 
  10. Will Smith Gives $ 122,500 To Scientology , The Huffington Post. 
  11. 76ers officially sold to new owners , accessed October 19, 2011
  12. ^ IMDB.com - Will Smith Awards , accessed October 24, 2015
  13. ^ Past Winners Search . In: The GRAMMYs .