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WILL SMITH

220px-Will_Smith_2Willard Christopher “Will” Smith, Jr. (born September 25, 1968) is an American actor, film producer and rapper. He has enjoyed success in music, television and film. Newsweek has called him the most powerful actor on the planet. Smith has been nominated for four Golden Globes, two Academy Awards, and has won multiple Grammys.

Smith rose to fame as a rapper under the name The Fresh Prince in the late 1980s and his role in the television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. His most notable films include Bad Boys and its sequel; Men in Black and its sequel; Independence Day; I, Robot; Ali; The Pursuit of Happyness; I Am Legend; Hancock; and Seven Pounds. He is the only actor in history to have eight consecutive films gross over $100 million in the domestic box office as well as being the only actor to have eight consecutive films open at #1 on the domestic box office as a Lead Actor.

Early life and education

Smith, an African American, was born and raised in West Philadelphia and Germantown in Northwest Philadelphia. His mother, Caroline (née Bright), was a school administrator who worked for the Philadelphia school board, and his father, Willard Christopher Smith, Sr., was a refrigeration engineer. He was raised Baptist. His parents separated when he was thirteen and divorced when he was thirty-two. Smith’s charming and sly demeanor in school resulted in the nickname “Prince”, which eventually turned into the “Fresh Prince”. While still in his teens, Smith began rapping and eventually began collaborating with Jeff Townes (a.k.a. DJ Jazzy Jeff), whom he met at a party. He attended Overbrook High School in West Philadelphia. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince was born with Smith handling the rhymes and Townes overseeing the mastery of mixing and scratching—the combination was a pop and hip-hop hit during the 1980s and early 1990s

Career

Smith started as the MC of the hip-hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, with his childhood friend Jeffrey “DJ Jazzy Jeff” Townes as turntablist and producer as well as Ready Rock C (Clarence Holmes) as the human beat box. The trio was known for performing humorous, radio-friendly songs, most notably “Parents Just Don’t Understand” and “Summertime.” They gained critical acclaim for winning the first ever Grammy in the Rap category (1988Smith also released a string of hit singles, often associated with his most recent film, throughout the late 1990s. The most notable of these were his #1 hit theme song “Men in Black“, the #1 hit “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” (which made jiggy a catchphrase for a while in 1998), and a cover of “Just the Two of Us“, an affectionate message to his young son. His first two solo albums went multi-platinum, but his third, on Columbia Records, was a sales disappointment compared to his past efforts, and after a quick Greatest Hits release that was almost not advertised at all, he was dropped by the label. He signed a recording contract with Interscope Records and released the successful Lost & Found in 2005. The album was propelled solely on the smash hit single, “Switch”, which appealed to the mainstream a la “Summertime”. The single stayed atop the charts for months and returned Smith to the forefront of hip-hop

Smith starred in the film I Am Legend, released December 14, 2007. Despite marginally positive reviews, its opening was the largest ever for a film released in the United States during December. Smith himself has said that he considers the film to be “aggressively unique”. Smith is developing a film entitled The Last Pharaoh, which he will star as Taharqa.

President Barack Obama stated that if a film were to ever be made about his life, he would have Smith play his part, because “he has the ears”. Obama stated that the two have discussed a possibility of a film based on the 2008 election.

On December 1, 2008, TV Guide reported that Smith has been selected as one of America’s top ten most fascinating people of 2008 for a Barbara Walters ABC special that aired on December 4, 2008.

It had been rumored that he had signed on as Agent J in the new film “Men in Black III

Box office grosses

Year Title Budget U.S. gross Worldwide gross
1992 Where the Day Takes You N/A $390,152 $390,152
1993 Made in America $44,942,695 $104,942,695
Six Degrees of Separation $6,284,090 $6,284,090
1995 Bad Boys $23m $65,647,413 $141,247,413
1996 Independence Day $75m $306,169,255 $817,400,878
1997 Men in Black $90m $250,690,539 $587,790,539
1998 Enemy of the State $111,549,836 $250,649,836
1999 Wild Wild West $170m $113,805,681 $222,105,681
2000 The Legend of Bagger Vance $80m $30,695,227 $39,235,486
2001 Ali $107m $58,183,966 $84,383,966
2002 Men in Black II $140m $190,418,803 $441,818,803
2003 Bad Boys II $60m $138,540,870 $272,940,870
2004 I, Robot $120m $144,801,023 $348,601,023
Shark Tale $75m $161,192,000 $367,192,000
2005 Hitch $70m $177,784,257 $366,784,257
2006 The Pursuit of Happyness $55m $162,586,036 $306,086,036
2007 I Am Legend $150m $256,393,010 $585,055,701
2008 Hancock $227,946,274 $624,346,274
Seven Pounds $55m $69,369,933 $168,482,448

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