Willard Christopher Smith II is an American actor and rapper who originally born and raised in Wynnefield section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is the second of four children, with the last two twins named Harry and Ellen, of the marriage couple Willard Smith Sr. and Caroline who owned a refrigerator company. Since his childhood Smith had shown himself as a smart and charming child, because of which most of his friends at Overbrook High School earned him the nickname Prince.
At the age of 12 Smith was greatly influenced by Eddie Murphy and new hip-hop heroes like Grandmaster Flash that encouraged him to begin rapping and soon perform on his own specialized comic style. At his 16-year age he met Jeff Townes, a Pennsylvania native, at a party in Philadelphia where he successfully made everyone attended the party laughed with his joke. Both of them became close and began performing together, Jeff as DJ Jazzy Jeff and Will as rapper Fresh Prince. Together they, in 1989, sang the humorous, radio friendly songs, one most famous was "Parents Just Don't Understand" that resulted in popularity and promising bright future career for both pals, prompting Smith to turn down his scholarship to Boston's super-prestigious MIT in order to follow his dream. This sacrifice somehow worthwhile as this song had granted Smith and Jeff the first ever Grammy award for "Best Rap Performance" in 1989.
Spending his time around wealth and popularity had made Smith got bored and tried to find something new and challenging. The answer came to him in 1989 when he met Benny Medina, who had an idea to produce a sitcom based on his life in Beverly Hills. The smart idea resulted in the 6 years lasted series of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," aired by NBC in 1990 and which plot was simple with Smith basically played himself; a street-smart West Philly kid transplanted to Beverly Hills.
Since then Smith tried to explore his acting ability playing in some movies until the movie critics recognized his performance through a 1993 film based on the John Guare play "Six Degrees of Separation," which explores the premise that everyone in the world is connected to one another by a chain of only 6 acquaintances. After that, he played in his next success film "Bad Boys" released in 1995 and its sequel "Bad Boys 2" which was very famous during 2003. Thanks to both films because of which Smith career was sky rocketed and that he could get his huge role in the Blockbuster "Independence Day" (1996) where he played the alien-battling Marine Corps Captain, Steven Hiller.
Kept on rocketing, Smith went on to play in a 1997 science fiction comedy action film "Men in Black" directed by Barry Sonnenfeld where he played as NYPD officer who becomes a part MiB holding its first major mission and continued taking part in its sequel entitled "Men in Black II" released in 2002. Lead roles in such films as "Enemy of the State" (1998), "Wild Wild West" (1999), "Ali" (2001) which earned him an Academy Award nomination for the category of Best Actor for his portrayal of the boxer Muhammad Ali, and "I, Robot" (2004) then followed.
Here are some awards Smith has gotten either for his qualified action skills, good vocal, or even for the physical charm God has granted him; chosen by People Magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People (1998), won a Grammy award for the "Summertime" song during his rap career, and ranked #2 on Star TV's Top Ten Box Office stars of the 1990s (2003). Besides, he had also nominated for an Academy Award made him as the first hip hop artist to get the nomination.
Having three children from his two marriages, 1 from his divorced wife Sheree Smith with whom he married on May 9, 1992 and split in 1995, while the other two from his present wife Jada Pinkett Smith whom he married on December 31, 1997, doesn't keep Smith away from acting. Thus, proven as smart actor who enjoys playing chess and fluent in speaking Spanish, based on January 23, 2005 issue he was ranked #15 in TV Guide's list of "TV's 25 Greatest Teen Idols". During the same year, he also highlighted romantic comedy "Hitch" that instantly topped the North America box office with $43.1 million in its opening weekend followed by inspiring tale "The Pursuit of Happyness" (2006).
Much to Smith's delight, the latter movie not only pulled another commercial success on the box-office but also directed him to receive his second Academy Award nomination in 2007 for best actor category apart from other nods at Golden Globe and SAG Awards. Not losing his persistence to work on his acting career, the actor kept striving high in the next following years, landing major role in "I am Legend" for a 2007 release then in "Tonight, He Comes" and "Time Share", both slated to come up by 2008. In the meantime, his path as a film producer also ran smoothly as he has already had a number of promising titles to develop at his company, Overbrook Entertainment, including those of "Monster Hunter" (2007), "Lakeview Terrace" (2008), "Sisters of Mercy" (2009), "Cooked" (2009) and a biopic about tennis star Arthur Ashe, also set to be launched in 2009.