1. In April 2007, Newsweek called him “the most powerful actor in Hollywood”. Smith has been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, two Academy Awards, and has won four Grammy Awards.
2. In the late 1980s, Smith achieved modest fame as a rapper under the name The Fresh Prince.
3. In 1990, his popularity increased dramatically when he starred in the popular television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
4. After the series ended, Smith moved from television to film, and ultimately starred in numerous blockbuster films.
5. He is the only actor to have eight consecutive films gross over $100 million in the domestic box office, eleven consecutive films gross over $150 million internationally, and eight consecutive films in which he starred open at the number one spot in the domestic box office tally.
6. Smith is ranked as the most bankable star worldwide by Forbes. As of 2014, 17 of the 21 films in which he has had leading roles have accumulated worldwide gross earnings of over $100 million each, five taking in over $500 million each in global box office receipts.
7. As of 2014, his films have grossed $6.6 billion at the global box office. He has received Best Actor Oscar nominations for Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness.
8. Smith was born in West Philadelphia, the son of Caroline (Bright), a Philadelphia school board administrator, and Willard Carroll Smith, Sr., a refrigeration engineer.
9. I had pretty high SAT scores and they needed black kids, so I probably could have gotten in.
10. Smith started as the MC of the hip-hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, with his childhood friend Jeffrey “DJ Jazzy Jeff” Townes as turntablist and producer, as well as Ready Rock C (Clarence Holmes) as the human beat box.
11. The trio was known for performing humorous, radio-friendly songs, most notably “Parents Just Don’t Understand” and “Summertime”.
12. Smith spent money freely around 1988 and 1989 and underpaid his income taxes.
13. Smith set for himself the goal of becoming “the biggest movie star in the world”, studying box office successes’ common characteristics.
14. Smith’s first major roles were in the drama Six Degrees of Separation (1993) and the action film Bad Boys (1995) in which he starred opposite Martin Lawrence.
15. In 1996, Smith starred as part of an ensemble cast in Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day.
16. The film was a massive blockbuster, becoming the second highest grossing film in history at the time and establishing Smith as a prime box office draw.