Will Smith has been famous since he and DJ Jazzy Jeff started rapping in the 1980s. Success seemed to follow the young Smith as he moved into acting in 1990. When his sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” was at the height of its popularity, Smith started acting in films, and over twenty years later, the star still hasn’t slowed down. In spite of his massive popularity, there are still some things that fans don’t know about Will Smith. The following five facts may surprise and amuse you.
1. Smith is a product of Catholic school.
Just as the theme song of “Fresh Prince” says, Smith was born and raised in west Philadelphia, but he didn’t really spend most of his days on the playground. The truth is that Will Smith probably spent more time in the strict classrooms of Overbrook High School than he did on the playgrounds in Philadelphia.
Smith was from a west Philadelphia neighborhood that contained a huge mixture of people. The neighborhood had a large Orthodox Jewish population as well as a large Muslim population. Although Smith’s family attended services at the Baptist church, they decided to send young Smith to Overbrook High School, a strict Catholic school in the area. There, Smith was popular among the other students and quickly earned the nickname “Prince.”
2. In spite of being an incredible test-taker, Smith decided not to go to college.
Multiple rumors claim that Smith received a perfect score on his SATs. Although the actor has admitted to getting a high score on his standardized tests, he has never publicly said that he got perfect scores. The rumor may be based in part on Will’s fictional character from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” who received top marks on the SAT but still turned down a scholarship to Princeton.
In real life, Smith was already a millionaire by the time he was eighteen. With money in the bank and a booming career, the actor saw no need to attend college, despite his excellent scores. Reports claim that Smith could have gotten into top schools like MIT, but instead he decided to pursue other hobbies.
3. A little-known 1993 film may be Smith’s most critically acclaimed success.
In 1993, Smith starred with Stockard Channing and Donald Sutherland in a small film called “Six Degrees of Separation”. Based on a play by John Guare, the film tells the story of a young con artist and a group of New York socialites. In the film, Smith plays a gay con artist who has an incredible effect on the lives of the socialites whom he cons.
The film did not enjoy the financial success that many of Smith’s other films have, but it earned the actor a lot of critical respect. It was only Smith’s third role in a film, and, since that time, he has gone on to win Oscar nominations for roles in “The Pursuit of Happiness” and “Ali.” Although he was not nominated for an Oscar for this film, many fans still consider Smith’s portrayal of Paul in “Six Degrees of Separation” to be one of Smith’s most provocative roles.
4. Sometimes, Smith and his family live in a mobile home.
As fans may imagine, Smith’s mobile home is not the type that one normally sees in a mobile home lot. Instead, it is a virtual mansion that is 53 feet long and two stories high. The home-away-from-home boasts a large master bedroom, granite countertops in the kitchen and bathroom, a lounge equipped with a bar and a media room. Although the mobile home has room for almost 30 people, the Smith family has other places that they call home as well. Reportedly the star, along with his wife Jada Pinkett Smith and their two children, has homes in Florida, Sweden and Philadelphia.
5. Although Smith is a philanthropist now, he was once bankrupt.
Currently, Smith is a huge philanthropist, and he gives money to charities like Feeding America, The Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation, and the Dream Foundation. He and his wife are so committed to helping others that they have even started their own foundation called the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation. Through that organization, the star and his family give time and money to projects that support education, family welfare, and community development in inner cities. The organization focuses on helping people in Baltimore in particular as Smith’s wife is from that city.
Although Will Smith is an impressive philanthropist now, he was once bankrupt. Just before Smith started his role as the Fresh Prince, the Internal Revenue Service claimed almost all of his possessions. He had an unpaid 2.8 million dollar tax bill, and once the IRS took his belongings, the star was virtually bankrupt.