Even after 20 years, The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air still delivers when it comes to comedy. They didn't do serious stuff that often, but when they did, they nailed that too.
One of the most famously heavy scenes featured Will, dealing with his father, Lou, walking out on him yet again. The episode, "Papa's Got A Brand New Excuse," aired back in 1994. Get the tissues ready and watch the scene again right now:
Undoubtedly one of Will Smith's best performances, and definitely one of the strongest moments from the show.
An urban legend grew up around this scene. The story goes that Will Smith ad-libbed those last lines based on his own relationship with his father, who walked out on him when he was a child. However, that's not exactly true.
While parts of Will's monologue may have been ad-libbed, it wasn't based on personal experience. Will Smith's father, Willard Carrol Smith, Sr., was actually a very present force in his son's life. He was the middle child between older sister Pamela and twins Harry and Ellen.
Smith Sr. was in the Air Force, and Will described his father's influence on his early life to Metro:
"[T]here was a very serious focus on military precision. That’s what he demanded and so that’s how I began in my career and in my life."
During high school, Will settled on the idea of becoming a rapper, and his parents were pretty supportive. He told Readers Digest that this is how the conversation went down:
"I told my parents I wanted to rap. They said, 'Rap?' My mother graduated from Carnegie Mellon. She thought college was the only way. My father could kind of see doing something differently. We agreed that I would take a year making music, and if it did not work out, I would go to college. That year we won the first Grammy given to a rap artist."
And no one could ever accuse Will Smith of not loving his kids. His relationship with his middle child, Jaden Pinkett Smith, is highly documented in The Pursuit Of Happyness and many a red carpet smooch.
Here's Will at the center of his happy family. From the left: Jaden, 17, Willow, 15, Will, wife Jada Pinkett Smith, and Trey, 23.
What do you think of this heart-wrenching scene and the true story behind it?