Has it really been this long?! To mark 25 years since "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" aired its series finale on May 20, 1996, Wonderwall.com is checking in on the cast that brought one of our favorite TV families to life. Keep reading for more…
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Will Smith portrayed Will, the titular teen who moves from West Philadelphia to the affluent Los Angeles community on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."
After concluding his run on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," Philadelphia-born Will Smith starred alongside Tommy Lee Jones in 1997's "Men in Black," which was the third highest grossing film that year. That wasn't the only milestone for Will in 1997 — he also launched his solo music career with the film's theme song. The A-lister went on to star in major projects including "Ali" — for which he earned an Academy Award nomination for best actor — two "Bad Boys" sequels, "I, Robot," "Shark Tale," "Hitch," "The Pursuit of Happyness," "Concussion," "Collateral Beauty," "Aladdin," "Life in a Year" and more. Will's been married to Jada Pinkett Smith, with whom he shares son Jaden and daughter Willow, since 1997. He's also a dad to son Trey with ex-wife Sheree Zampino. Next up for the former '90s sitcom star and rapper? Will will appear in the films "King Richard," "The Council," "Bad Boys 4" and "Bright 2."
Alfonso Ribeiro portrayed Will's preppy cousin — and iconic dance originator — Carlton Banks.
Alfonso Ribeiro has enjoyed a successful career following his starring role on the hit '90s sitcom. In addition to appearing alongside LL Cool J from 1997 to 1999 on the series "In the House," Alfonso's made a name for himself as a celebrity host, leading game shows including "Your Big Break," "GSN Live" and "Catch 21." In 2014, he won the Mirrorball Trophy while competing on season 19 of "Dancing With the Stars." Since 2015, Alfonso — who married second wife Angela Unkrich, with whom he shares three children (he also has a daughter from his previous marriage to Robin Stapler), in 2012 — has been the host of ABC's "America's Funniest Home Videos."
Karyn Parsons played Hilary Banks — Will's snobby cousin and Carlton's sister.
After starring on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," Karyn Parsons went on to star on the sitcom "The Job" from 2001 to 2002. Her other credits include "Gulliver's Travels," "Mixing Nia," "Melrose Place," "Linc's" and "13 Moons." Karyn — who married director Alexandre Rockwell, with whom she shares two children, in 2003 — returned to the screen in the 2020 drama "Sweet Thing."
Who could forget this lovable addition to the Banks family? On "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," Joseph Marcell played Geoffrey, the family's cynical butler.
Joseph Marcell, who was raised in South London, went on to appear in episodes of television shows including "Living Single," "The Bold and the Beautiful," "EastEnders," "Holby City," "Death in Paradise" and 2020's "Ratched." But acting on the big and small screens isn't Joseph's only specialty — he's also a stage actor who's appeared in a handful of productions including 2016's "Gem of the Ocean" and 2018's "Lady Windermere's Fan." We'll next see Joseph in the films "The Exorcism of God" and "The Stranger in Our Bed."
From seasons 4 to 6, Daphne Maxwell Reid portrayed Vivian Banks, the no-nonsense matriarch of the family.
After stepping in as the second Vivian Banks on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," Daphne Maxwell Reid kept a steady presence in the limelight. Over the years, the New York City native popped up in films including "Pantheon Black," "By the Grace of Bob," "Out of Gas" and 2019's "Harriet." Daphne, who's been married to actor Tim Reid since 1997, also appeared in episodes of television shows like "Sister, Sister," "Eve," "Crossing Jordan," "Let's Stay Together" and "Jacqueline and Jilly."
Tatyana Ali played Ashley Banks, Will's youngest cousin who looks up to him as a big brother.
Ashley Banks is all grown up! Following her time on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," Tatyana Ali went to college then starred on the TV One series "Love That Girl!" which ran for four seasons and aired from 2010 to 2014. She also portrayed a recurring character on the CBS soap opera "The Young and the Restless" from 2007 to 2013 in addition to appearing in films like "Hotel California," "Pete Smalls Is Dead" and "Dysfunctional Friends" around the same time. Since 2018, she's voiced Mrs. James on the Disney animated television series "Fancy Nancy." While she's certainly proven herself to be a talented star, acting isn't her only interest. In 1998, she released her first album, "Kiss the Sky," followed by the EP "Hello" in 2014. Tatyana — who graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor's degree in African American studies and government in 2002 — married Stanford University associate professor Vaughn Rasberry in 2016. They have two sons.
James Avery portrayed the one and only Philip Banks, the patriarch of the Banks family and Will's strict yet selfless uncle.
After starring on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," James Avery did voice work for the animated film "The Prince of Egypt" and appeared in movies including "Dancing in September," "Dr. Dolittle 2," "Raise Your Voice," "Danika," "Who's Your Caddy?" and 2014's "Wish I Was Here" — the last film he ever made. James appeared in episodes of television shows like "Family Law," "That '70s Show," "NYPD Blue," "Girlfriends," "That's So Raven," "My Wife and Kids," "Grey's Anatomy" and "The Young and the Restless." On Dec. 31, 2013, he passed away at 68 from complications of open heart surgery.