From making us laugh in 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' to tugging at our heartstrings in 'The Pursuit of Happyness', Hollywood actor Will Smith has proven his versatility over the years. Did you know he turned down the role of Neo in 'The Matrix'? As he turns 48 today, we dig up such interesting facts about Will Smith that you may not have known
Will Smith. Pic/AFP
1. Will Smith started his career as the emcee of the hip-hop duo, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, with his friend Jeffrey Townes as turntablist and producer. They collaborated with beatboxer Clarence Holmes and won the first Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance for 'Parents Just Don't Understand'.
2. Owing to his excessive spending and underpaid income taxes, Will Smith was nearly bankrupt in 1990.
3. He was saved upon being signed by NBC for 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' in 1990, a sitcom in which he played the lead character who was based on Smith's own traits. The show ran for six seasons and kickstarted Smith's career.
Will Smith in 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'. Pic/YouTube
4. Will Smith's first major role in a Hollywood feature film was as Paul in 'Six Degrees of Separation' (1993), which also starred Sir Ian McKellen.
Will Smith in a still from 'Six Degrees of Separation'. Pic/YouTube
5. Will Smith turned down the role of Neo in ‘The Matrix’ (1999) to star in ‘Wild Wild West’ (1999). While ‘The Matrix’ went on to become a huge success, ‘Wild Wild West’ flopped at the box office.
6. Will Smith and his son Jaden played father and son in two films: 'The Pursuit of Happyness' (2006) and 'After Earth' (2013).
Will Smith with son Jaden in 'The Pursuit of Happyness'. Pic/YouTube
Will Smith (right) with son Jaden in 'After Earth'. Pic/Santa Banta
Smith has a son, Trey, from his first marriage to Sheree Zampino. Trey appeared with Smith in his music video for the song 'Just the Two of Us'.
Will Smith with son Trey in 'Just the Two of Us' music video. Pic/YouTube
7. Will Smith is the only actor to have eight consecutive films gross over 100 million dollars at the domestic box office and eleven consecutive films gross over 150 million dollars worldwide.