Will Smith Couldn’t Spend a Penny Out of the $2.8M First 3 Seasons of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Made Him – Here’s Why

Will Smith is a big name in the film industry today, but even he has seen a fair share of struggle in his career. Before he got a kickstart in his career, with the popular NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, he used to work as a rapper alongside DJ Jazzy Jeff.

But to enter the industry, he had to find a way, even if that meant lying about his acting skills. The sitcom turned out to be a great hit and garnered widespread recognition. However, despite earning immense popularity and increased fortune from the show Smith could hardly enjoy it. However, his core purpose was fulfilled by the TV series.

Will Smith
Will Smith

Will Smith lied to get a role in his breakthrough TV series

Will Smith has certainly evolved as an actor over time. Today he is a renowned celebrity with an impressive resume that includes his iconic performances. However, it would be surprising for his fans to know that he once lied about his acting skills to get a role in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. 

Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The popular sitcom undeniably gave a boost to Smith’s career, however, the route he chose to get it wasn’t an honest one. During an interview with CBS Mornings (via ScreenRant), Smith revealed that at the time of his casting when the executive producer of the show, Quincy Jones asked him if he was versed in acting, Smith being a newcomer in the field lied and said yes. However, the actor has no regrets about it, as was always clear with his notions. Smith explained,
“I think it’s important, as a rule, if someone asks you if you can do something, always say yes. Even if you can’t. Quincy Jones wants to have an audition, right? And Michael Jackson was behind me, 48 million sold on Thriller and Oprah was behind me on the other side – The Color Purple – and I’m sitting there and, you know, I look back at Michael and he was like, “What’re you gonna do, Will?” And it was like, just in that moment, you know, Quincy was like, You’re making a decision that’s gonna affect the rest of your life. And I was like, Let’s do it.”
His little circuitous indeed worked in his favor, as he not only secured the role in the series but his performance was well received by the audience. Moreover, by the end of the series, Smith managed to star in a big-budget film as the lead protagonist. He starred in the 1996 sci-fi film Independence Day which was a massive blockbuster.

Will Smith couldn’t enjoy the fortune earned by his hit series

Will Smith
Will Smith
The NBC sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air aired for six seasons, from 1990 to 1996, becoming one of the best series of its time. Since the series was a big hit, it garnered widespread recognition, earning $2.8 million for its lead protagonist Will Smith in just the first three seasons.

However, he couldn’t enjoy any of it because he had to fulfill some obligations. Smith had previously been a rapper before entering the acting field. During an interview with Inside The Actors Studios, the actor revealed that a major portion of his earnings was spent in repaying the taxes he owed from his rap career.

Smith further revealed that he just entered the acting field to have an income to pay the taxes. However, fate had other plans for him as his obligation to pay off debts became a reason for him to enter the film industry.


Source: Inside The Actors Studios

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