Here's a guide to the main cast of classic 1990s sitcom The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. Prior to The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, Will Smith was best known as one half of hip-hop group DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, who scored hits with "Summertime" and "Parents Just Don't Understand." The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air quickly proved to be a ratings success, based around Smith's charisma and the talent of the supporting cast.
Smith would later branch out to movie roles, scoring a huge success with Michael Bay's directorial debut Bad Boys, co-starring Martin Lawrence; he will return to the franchise in Bad Boys For Life. The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air ended in 1996, leaving him free to focus on a film career, and he went on to a run of hits like Independence Day, Men In Black and Enemy Of The State. Like any movie star he's suffered through some flops and bad reviews but he's still going strong, and in 2019 he co-starred alongside himself in Gemini Man as a veteran assassin facing off against his younger clone.
The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air is where it all started for Smith and the show is now considered a classic sitcom. Here's a quick guide to the main characters.
Will Smith - Will Smith
Will Smith was perfectly cast in The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air because NBC built the show around his persona. The series allowed his natural charisma to shine but as it progressed it wasn't afraid to dig into Will as a character. He's funny and surprisingly intelligent but can also be lazy and immature, which leads to clashes with his uncle.
Carlton Banks - Alfonso Ribeiro
Carlton is Will's cousin and eventual best friend. Carlton is much dorkier than Will and the two frequently tease and torment one another, but they form a close bond too. Alfonso Ribeiro has also appeared on shows like Extreme Ghostbusters and Dancing With The Stars.
Philip Banks - James Avery
Philip is Will's uncle by marriage and was a successful lawyer when The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air began. Will teases Phil about his weight frequently and almost every episode sees Will do something to anger or stress out his uncle. While he can be stern, Phil also has a good heart and wants what's best for Will. The late James Avery also famously loaned his voice to Shredder for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon series.
Vivian Banks - Janet Hubert/Daphne Maxwell Reid
Vivian is Will's aunt, who is somewhat softer on Will's antics than Phil but can take a tough love approach when she needs to. Vivian was played by Janet Hubert from seasons 1 to 3 and later by Daphne Maxwell Reid in the final seasons of The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air.
Hilary Banks - Karyn Parsons
Hilary is Vivian and Phil's vapid, narcissistic daughter. She loves to shop and spend money and famously has little to no life skills like cooking. Other Karyn Parsons roles include Major Payne with Damon Wayans (Lethal Weapon).
Ashley Banks - Tatyana Ali
Tatyana Ali played Ashley, the youngest of the Bank's children. She and Will are initially close, but both Will and Phil's overprotectiveness of her causes her to push them away as she grows older. Tatyana Ali has since appeared in Glory Road and guest-starred on a Key & Peele episode.
Geoffrey - Joseph Marcell
Geoffrey is the British family butler and is famous for his dry humor and cutting remarks on The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, and like Will often makes fun of Phil's weight.