Good news for those of you who are fans of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The show is getting a reboot on the Peacock streaming service! But instead of simply being an updated version of the sitcom that ran for 6 seasons from 1990 until 1996, the new show — based on a 2019 viral short film — will be a drama. Why the nostalgia? The primary reason is, of course, due to Will Smith. Although he had started his career in the entertainment industry as half of the teenage rap duo DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, he was a complete acting novice when he was offered the show. It was a smashing success, and although Smith proved himself as an actor, it’s doubtful that many at the time could have predicted that he would become an A-list Hollywood movie star. But a quarter of a century later and here we are. But what about the rest of the cast? What have they been up to? We’ve got all the answers!
James Avery (Uncle Phil)
Although his role on The Fresh Prince as Will’s uncle is what gained him prominence, Avery’s career spanned back to the early 1980s when he appeared on such sitcoms as The Jeffersons and Amen. After the show ended, he continued to find roles, including as the lead character on the UPN sitcom Sparks. Sadly, he died in 2013 due to complications from heart surgery at the age of 68. Uncle Phil ranked #34 on TV Guide’s list of “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time.”
Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton Banks)
Ribeiro has continued to find steady work, which includes starring in In the House with LL Cool J, hosting a pair of game shows (GSN Live and Catch 21) and even winning the 19th season of Dancing With the Stars. He’s also directed several episodes of tv shows and performed the leading role on the Broadway musical The Tap Dance Kid.
Janet Hubert (The original Aunt Vivian)
The situation regarding Hubert was controversial. Although she was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Will’s aunt, it had long been rumored that she was fired after the 3rd season. However, in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion she set the record straight, explaining that she had been offered a chance to return, but turned it down, believing it was a “bad deal.” Smith subsequently apologized to her for his lack of sensitivity. So all is right in this world again.
Daphne Maxwell Reid (Aunt Vivian #2)
Reid had far better chemistry with Smith, and as a result the show went relatively smoothly during its final three seasons. She subsequently starred on the UPN sitcom Eve, and then on the BET sitcom Let’s Stay Together. Her most recent acting role was on the short-lived show Jacqueline and Jilly. She has received numerous honors throughout her career, including the Women of Vision Award.
Karyn Parsons (Hilary Banks)
Although Fresh Prince was Parsons’ career highlight, she co-created, co-produced, co-wrote, and co-starred in the sitcom Lush Life, although it was canceled after 4 episodes. She also co-starred in The Job, a critically acclaimed comedy series that featured actor/comedian Denis Leary. She went on a lengthy hiatus from acting beginning in 2002, but made a return in the 2017 short film On Monday of Last Week.
Tatyana Ali (Ashley Banks)
Ali has been pretty busy since Fresh Prince came to an end. She has starred in several movies and TV shows, including 7 seasons on the soap opera The Young and the Restless. Due to her talents as a singer, Will Smith encouraged her to pursue a serious singing career. She released a few albums, including her debut Kiss the Sky, which featured three singles that reached the UK Top 20. After graduating from Harvard, she worked as a spokesman during Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Joseph Marcell (Geoffrey Butler)
Given that he grew up in London, it’s not surprising that Marcell portrayed the family butler with a certain Shakespearian flair. He has become a fixture at the Royal Shakespeare Company, acting in King Lear, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Much Ado About Nothing. He also serves on the board of the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
Ross Bagley (Nicky Banks)
Once the sitcom reached its 5th season, things started to get a bit stale. So as is common practice, a new character was introduced in the form of Nicky Banks, Phil and Vivian’s newborn who magically grew into a 3-year-old preschooler because, let’s be honest, babies are boring. Bagley won back-to-back Young Artist Awards in the category of “Best Performance By an Actor Under Ten.” He also appeared in the 1996 blockbuster Independence Day alongside Will Smith. Today Bagley doesn’t do much acting, but he’s found success as a real-estate agent in the Los Angeles area.