Though it was a classic fish out of water story based in part on the real-life experiences of CEO Benny Medina, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air didn’t have the typical template for a successful television sitcom. With a young, popular rap artist in a lead role that was a fictionalized version of himself, the story followed teenager Will Smith from the streets of Philadelphia to the expensive homes of Bel-Air, Los Angeles.
Though it was not an out-of-the-gate success, the series ran for six seasons, placing in the top 25 show ratings for its first four years. More than that, though, it proved that mainstream television audiences were excited for, and supportive of, network shows with all-black casts, and that the hip-hop elements were a draw for audiences rather than a detriment.
The series started a few film and television careers, and continued several others. In the 27 years since its premiere, the series has left an indelible mark on the television landscape. Some of the performers are still household names, while others went on to interesting careers outside the television arena. However, one thing is certain: they’ll never be forgotten for their roles on this series.
Here is Where Are They Now? The Cast Of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
15. Janet Hubert
Though she had a few roles on 21 Jump Street and Reasonable Doubts (and a fun appearance in an episode of Tales from the Crypt), Aunt Vivian was truly Janet Hubert’s breakout role, and Hubert was fiercely protective but funny in the role.
All was not well behind the scenes, however; Hubert had a famous feud with series star Will Smith that eventually led to her being replaced by Daphne Reid for the final three seasons of the series, and she was not happy about it. She had memorable roles after departing the series, including a funny turn on Gilmore Girls and a recurring role on One Life to Live, but never one as popular as Aunt Vivian.
She did revisit The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 2009 when she published a memoir about her life: Perfection Is Not a Sitcom Mom. In it, she talked about the infighting and what she considered to be a betrayal of the cast that led to the rift between her and Smith. She can be heard as another aunt in a famous franchise, Grand Theft Auto 5, and can be seen in the TV series Ward of the State.
14. Alfonso Ribeiro
Already a known television commodity after his run on Silver Spoons, Alfonso Ribeiro became a legend and the stuff of memes when he created “The Carlton,” a dance move named after his pompous but hilarious character.
He followed up one popular sitcom by starring as a rapper with another one, coining LL Cool J on the series In the House, and competed on both the UK version of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here and Dancing with the Stars, the latter of which he won.
He’s also found success behind the camera, directing episodes of Are We There Yet and Meet the Browns, but his greatest skill might be his real-life personality. He has been the host of Good Morning America, Catch 21, the Food Network series Unwrapped, and he replaced Tom Bergeron on America’s Funniest Home Videos.
He can still be seen hosting AFV, as well as occasional appearances hosting both Today and Access Hollywood Live. He still has those killer dance movies, too.