These "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" Stars Originally Said No to the Show
Without them, the show wouldn't be the same. Thankfully, these two naysayers eventually gave in.
Children of the '90s rejoiced when the fresh prince himself, Will Smith, posted a photo of the whole Banks family from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air together again in their old living room in September. Smith announced on Instagram that The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion was coming, and on Nov. 13, he finally shared the first trailer for the special, which will air on HBO Max on Nov. 19. The two-minute Fresh Prince trailer reveals quite a few interesting behind-the-scene secrets, including which two cast members said no to the show initially. To see which cast members passed on Fresh Prince, read on. And for details on who this host won't allow on his show, check out The One Guest Anderson Cooper Banned From His Show.
"Jeff turned down the show literally 10 times," Smith says in the trailer, referring, of course, to DJ Jazzy Jeff. "I had no aspirations to act," the rapper explains. However, Jeff ended up being a key recurring character on the show, Jazz, and he credits Smith with changing his mind. "Will is very good at talking me into things," he says of his famed collaborator.
Before the show, the two were DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, a hip-hop duo who created classics like "Summertime" and "Parents Just Don't Understand." Once Smith convinced Jeff to join him on the sitcom, their careers took off even farther.
But he wasn't the only one who was unsure about joining The Fresh Prince. Daphne Maxwell Reid—who portrayed Aunt Viv after the original Vivian Banks, Janet Hubert, left—had a similar reaction. "They said, 'Oh we want you to audition for this new sitcom with a rapper,' and I said, 'Mmm, pass!'" Maxwell Reid says in the trailer.
The reunion will also feature a conversation between Hubert and Smith for the first time since her controversial replacement. The two have famously feuded for the nearly three decades since Hubert left Fresh Prince ahead of Season 4. She went on to claim that Smith was part of the reason for her ousting, and in a radio interview at the time, Smith was quoted as saying, “I can say straight up that Janet Hubert wanted the show to be The Aunt Viv of Bel-Air show because I know she is going to dog me in the press. She has basically gone from a quarter of a million dollars a year to nothing. She’s mad now but she’s been mad all along. She said once, ‘I’ve been in the business for 10 years and this snotty-nosed punk comes along and gets a show.’"
In the Fresh Prince reunion trailer, the cast also discusses the late James Avery, who died in 2013. They describe the actor behind Uncle Phil as "the heart of the show." He was "this 6'4" Shakespearian beast, and I wanted him to think I was good," says Smith.
Smith also posted the trailer on his Instagram with the caption: "These are the people who made me the man I am today. And I couldn’t let this day go by without marking the occasion."
Here is what the Banks kids have been up to since the show ended in 1996, and for more stars who've rejected gigs, check out 5 Stars Who Turned Down "The Masked Singer."
Read the original article on Best Life.
Of course, the star of the show went on to become an A-list movie star. He starred in blockbuster action films including I Am Legend, Men in Black, and the Bad Boys franchise. He also earned Oscar nominations for his performance in Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness. Smith is married to Jada Pinkett Smith, with whom he has two children—Willow and Jaden Smith. He also has a son, Trey Smith, with his ex wife, Sheree Zampino. And for more interesting information delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Post Fresh Prince, Alfonso Ribeiro, who gave us the gift of the Carlton dance, did voice work on shows like Extreme Ghostbusters and starred on the sitcom In the House. But his dancing days were not behind him—Ribeiro won Season 19 of Dancing With the Stars in 2014. These days, he's the host of America's Funniest Home Videos, one of the longest-running series on television.
From 2002 to 2007, Ribeiro was married to Robin Stapler, with whom he has a daughter. He later remarried Angela Unkrich in 2012, and the couple has three children. And for more shows that have been on forever, check out The 40 Longest-Running American TV Shows of All Time.
The ever posh Hilary, played by Karyn Parsons, always had a sassy remark and a chic ensemble ready to go. Since the end of Fresh Prince, Parsons appeared on shows like Lush Life, The Job, Melrose Place, and Static Shock. In 2019, she published a children's book titled How High the Moon. She's been married to director Alexandre Rockwell for 17 years, and the two have a daughter and son together. And for more on another '90s icon, check out Oprah Says This Was the Worst Guest She Ever Had.
Tatyana Ali portrayed the youngest Banks child, Ashley. Ali has since starred on shows such as The Young and the Restless and Love That Girl! She also released an EP in 2014 titled Hello. Ali married Vaughn Raspberry in 2016 and has two sons. And to see why this celebrity left her starring role, check out ABC Sitcom Star Quits, Calling Show a "Toxic Environment."