ByVaria Fedko-Blake, writer at
Staff Writer at Moviepilot! [email protected] Twitter: @vfedkoblake
Varia Fedko-Blake

A '90s staple, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air was perhaps one of the most iconic TV sitcoms of the decade.

Yet, even though you still know the theme song off by heart and can probably do the Carlton dance in your sleep, are you familiar with the following 14 facts about the show?

Well, sit back, grab a soda and prepare to spend the next few minutes chillin' out, maxin', relaxin' all cool as you brush up on your Fresh Prince knowledge.

1. Will Smith was in high-debt when he joined the cast

When he was cast in the show, Will owed the government almost $3 million. Many of his possessions had already been seized and he was on the brink of bankruptcy. The situation was so bad that for during the first three seasons, 70% of his pay check went directly to the IRS.

2. Will met his future wife during auditions

Yep, when auditioning for Fresh Prince, Will actually met his future wife, Jada. She was reading lines for the role of his on-screen girlfriend but ironically didn't get the part because the producers didn't think there was enough chemistry between them.

3. Supermodel Naoimi Campbell starred in an episode

She even pulled some '90s shade on the dance floor with Geoffrey:

4. Aunt Viv was controversially re-cast

The first three seasons saw Janet Hubert take on the character of Aunt Viv. However, after this, she was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid. Although the reason was never officially addressed, apparently the swap was due to Hubert's discontent at having a no-competition clause in her contract, meaning she couldn't take on any other roles whilst on the series.

Others believe that the reason she left was that she didn't get on with Will Smith, and he got her fired!

5. Carlton's dance inspiration came from Courtney Cox and Eddie Murphy

When coming up with the goofy moves, Alfonso Ribeiro looked to Cox's dancing from Bruce Springsteen's video 'Dancing in the Dark' and merged the sequence together with Murphy's skit on how white people dance.

It even sparked the world's largest flash-mob three years ago:

6. The Banks' house isn't in Bel Air

The house in the introduction sequence is actually in nearby Brentwood. Whilst the Banks’ fictional address was 805 St. Cloud Road, the real house is at 251 N. Bristol Avenue.

7. The cast shared an on-set diary

Recently, the actress who played Hilary Banks revealed that the cast kept a shared diary inside a drawer on the set. Actors and members of the crew could write whatever they wanted in it, including notes, poems, scribbles or just their feelings at the time.

8. NBC cancelled the show after the fourth season

However, fans made sure that it was swiftly reinstated and it went on for a further two seasons.

9. Will's name on the show ISN'T exactly the same as in real life

Contrary to popular belief, Will's on-screen name was William but his real full name is Willard.

10. You can buy a pair of Fresh Prince trainers

Apparently the Nike Men's Air Jordan 5 Bel Air was heavily inspired by the show.

11. The Fresh Prawn of Bel-Air

An animated mini series has been created, featuring a mad mash up of The Fresh Prince and the sci-fi movie District 9. Here's the bizarre clip:

12. The name of Uncle Phil's law firm 'Firth, Wynn and Meyer' is a play on words

Producer Quincy Jones' favorite group in fact - Earth, Wind and Fire.

13. Aunt Viv was Chandler's boss

The first actress in the role of Viv, Janet Hubert, later went on to play Chandler's boss in Friends. She appeared in the episode 'The One Where Emma Cries' and fails to find it funny when he falls asleep in her meeting. Relive the moment here:

14. Will Smith would mouth other actors' lines

When they first started filming, in order to deliver his own lines, Will would regularly mouth ones belonging to other actors.

In addition, he often messed up his lines because he didn't have much previous acting experience. Executives noticed this and he was almost fired.

The cast today...

With time, Will acquired the acting skills he was lacking and he became one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. And his first role has remained so memorable that even to this day our Fresh Prince mania refuses to go away.

Thankfully, the cast are just as happy to recreate some of our favorite moments, providing us with that much-needed burst of '90s nostalgia every now and then. Like that time when Will teamed up with Carlton and Jazzy to recreate some of our favorite dance moves on The Graham Norton Show:

Sources: and IMDB


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