Biographic by Steve McGarry for February 19, 2006
He gave up a place at the world-famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology to embark on a career that has seen him become a chart-topping recording artist, the star of a long-running sitcom, and a major movie action hero whose Blockbusters have earned billions. Will Smith has soared to the top at everything he has turned hsi hand to. What next? Well, he once famously remarked that people laugh, but if I ser my mind to it, withing the next 15 years I would be president." Willard Christopher Smith Jr was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 25, 1968. He earned the nickname 'Prince' for his ability to charm his way out of trouble. After meeting fellow hip-hop fan Jeff Townes at a party, the pair began performing as DJ Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince. The duo won the first-ever rap grammy for 'Parents Just Don't Understand" and they followed up with hits such as "Summertime." Will is genial personalized to a sitcom being created around him. Debuting in 1990. "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" was a big hit. Running for six years, by the time the show ended, thanks to box-office smashes such as "Bad Boys" and "Independence Day" Will Smith was a major movie star. By this point, will was also recording as a solo artist, racking up hits worldwide. The title track from the box-office smash "Men In Black" was a huge success. And 'Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" introduced the world of "Jiggy" to the national vocabulary "Wild Wild West" and "Enemy Of The State" followed, continuing his runoff hit movies. As a leading man whose appeal isn't limited by age, race, or gender Will's fees skyrocketed by the time he made the "Men In Black" and "Bad Boys" sequels. He was able to command fees of $20 million plus a percentage of the gross profits! In 2001, the multi-millionaire rapper turned sitcom star-turned action hero also proved he can act. His acclaimed portrayal of boxing legend Muhammad Ali in "Ali" earned him Oscar and Golden Globe nominations as the best actor MTV movie award.