There’s a lot going on with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air these days. The beloved ‘90s sitcom is getting a reboot, thanks to the streaming service Peacock, where it will be reimagined as a drama called Bel-Air. The original series cast is reuniting for an HBO Max special, airing in November 2020. Will, Carlton, Hilary, Ashley, Geoffrey, Jazz, both Aunt Vivs and some special guests will come together for a 30th anniversary special. But before fans can stream all that, it’s time to get your nostalgia on and take a look at Will Smith and the rest of the cast in 1990 when the show began—then see where they are now.
Will Smith, Then
Smith played Will, a spunky teen from West Philadelphia, who was sent to live with his family in Bel-Air after getting into a fight with guys who were up to no good. “It was my very first role, and I was very, very focused on being successful, so I learned the whole script and everyone else’s lines," Smith explained about starring on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. "If you watch the first four or five episodes, you can see I’m mouthing other people’s lines. It’s terrible and I can’t bear to watch it.”
Will Smith, Now
Smith moved onto the big screen after the comedy series ended in 1996. The actor appeared in many films including the Men in Black and Bad Boys franchises. He was nominated for an Oscar for his performances in Ali (2001) and The Pursuit of Happyness (2006). The Philly-born star is also a recording artist. Smith earned GRAMMY Awards for his songs “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It,” “Men in Black” and “Summertime.” In 2019, Smith played Genie in Disney’s live-action Aladdin. In 2020, it was announced that the Fresh Prince actor would star alongside Kevin Hart in a Planes, Trains and Automobiles remake. Smith is also executive producing the Fresh Prince reboot, Bel-Air.
Alfonso Ribeiro, Then
Ribeiro played Carlton St. William Banks, the eldest son of Vivian and Philip Banks, and Will’s preppy cousin in the memorable sitcom. The nerdy Banks son was best known for his dance moves.
Alfonso Ribeiro, Now
The New York-born star has had a successful TV career since The Fresh Prince wrapped. Ribeiro starred on Extreme Ghostbusters (1997), In the House (1995 - 1999), Are We There Yet (2011) and Things We Do for Love (2011). In 2014, the actor was a contestant on Dancing With the Stars. He has been the host of America’s Funniest Home Videos since 2015. In 2019, the sitcom actor and his wife announced the birth of their daughter. In 2020, Ribeiro starred in a series of State Farm commercials where he impersonated NBA player Chris Paul.
Karyn Parsons, Then
Parsons played the spoiled eldest Banks daughter, Hilary. The sometimes-snobby, always fashionable character had a passion for shopping and became a successful career woman. While filming the series, Parsons also starred in the movie Major Payne (1995) alongside Damon Wayans.
Karyn Parsons, Now
Post-Fresh Prince, Parsons starred on Lush Life (1996) and The Job (2001). In 2020, the Los Angeles-born actress and mother of two appeared in the movie Sweet Thing.
Tatyana M. Ali, Then
Ali began playing Ashley, the youngest Banks daughter, when she was 11 years old. Although she and her character began the show the same age, when the series ended, Ali was 17 and her character was 15.
Tatyana M. Ali, Now
The actress went on to have roles in the movies Jawbreaker (1999), Glory Road (2006) and on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless. Ali is also a recording artist. Her 1998 album, Kiss the Sky, went certified gold in 1999. The Harvard University grad was a spokesperson for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. In 2019, the mother of two appeared in the TV movies Deadly Match and Christmas Hotel. In 2020, Ali will appear in the faith-based film The Reason.
Joseph Marcell, Then
The Caribbean-born actor played the Banks family’s butler, Geoffrey. Although his character was an employee of the Banks, Geoffrey was beloved and treated as a family member.
Joseph Marcell, Now
After The Fresh Prince, Marcell had roles on Brothers and Sisters, The Bold and the Beautiful and the British soap opera EastEnders. In 2019, he played Chief Wembe in the film The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. In 2020, he appeared on the Ryan Murphy series Ratched.
James Avery, Then
By the time Avery played the Banks family patriarch, Philip Banks, he was an established TV star. The actor had roles on Hill Street Blues (1984), Cagney & Lacey (1985), L.A. Law (1988), the Aladdin TV series, and more.
James Avery, Now
Over the years, the Fresh Prince star lent his voice to Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1996), Pepper Ann (1998) and The Legend of Tarzan (2001). Avery had roles on That '70s Show (2004), The Closer (2005) and Sherri (2009) before his death at the age of 68 in 2013. The Fresh Prince cast paid tribute to the late actor during Will Smith's Snapchat original series, Will From Home.
Janet Hubert, Then
The Chicago-born actress played Will’s Aunt Vivian for the first three seasons of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air before she was fired and replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid. Before the series began, Hubert had roles on Agent on Ice (1986), Hunter (1988) and 21 Jump Street (1988).
Janet Hubert, Now
Since leaving the sitcom, Hubert has appeared on the TV series Lawless (1997), NYPD Blue (1998), The Job (2001), One Life to Live (2005) and General Hospital (2018). In 2016, the actress criticized her former co-star Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, for boycotting the Oscars. Hubert has repeatedly criticized Fresh Prince, and Smith, over the years, but she has reportedly made up with her former co-star in time for the series’ HBO Max reunion.
Daphne Maxwell Reid, Then
Reid began playing Aunt Viv halfway through the third season of the series. Before joining the cast, the actress had roles on Simon & Simon (1983), Frank’s Place (1987) and Snoops (1989).
Daphne Maxwell Reid, Now
Since The Fresh Prince, the New York-born actress has had roles on Eve (2003) and Jacqueline and Jilly (2018). In 2020, she will appear in the holiday movie The Business of Christmas.
DJ Jazzy Jeff, Then
The actor and musician played Will Smith’s on-screen best friend, Jazz, throughout the series. Born Jeffrey Allen Townes, Jeff and Smith performed as the duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince.
DJ Jazzy Jeff, Now
After the Fresh Prince series, the Philly native became a record producer and started his own production company called, A Touch of Jazz. The father of two has worked with Jill Scott, Eminem, The Roots and Darius Rucker. Jazz and Smith still make music together and released a single in 2017.
Vernee Watson, Then
Watson played Will’s mother, Viola “Vy” Smith, who sent her son to live with his aunt and uncle in California in order to keep him out of trouble. Before the series, Watson was an established TV star with roles on Welcome Back, Kotter (1975), Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels (1977) and The Love Boat (1978).
Vernee Watson, Now
After the series, the actress continued her TV career with roles on The Big Bang Theory (2006), General Hospital (2013), and Bob Hearts Abishola (2019). Watson received Daytime Emmy Awards in 2018 and 2019 for her performance on General Hospital.
Tyra Banks, Then
When Banks joined the sitcom as Will’s childhood best friend, Jackie Ames, she was an established runway and catalogue model. The America’s Next Top Model host was on the series for eight episodes in 1993.
Tyra Banks, Now
After playing Jackie, Banks’ acting career took off. The model had roles in Love & Basketball (2000), Coyote Ugly (2000) and Life-Size (2000). She produced and hosted the reality competition series America's Next Top Model in 2003 and had her own talk show, The Tyra Banks Show, from 2005 to 2010. Banks became the new host of Dancing With the Stars in 2020.
Nia Long, Then
Long played Will’s fiancée, Lisa Wilkes. Before the sitcom, Long appeared on Guiding Light (1992), Living Single (1993) and in the movies Boyz n the Hood (1991) and Friday (1995).
Nia Long, Now
Since The Fresh Prince, the three-time NAACP Award winner has starred in The Best Man (1999), Judging Amy (2001), House of Lies (2013), Empire (2017) and #BlackAF (2020).
Ross Bagley, Then
Bagley began playing the youngest Banks child, Nicky, on the third season of the series when he was six years old. In 1994, he played Buckwheat in the movie Little Rascals.
Ross Bagley, Now
After The Fresh Prince, the actor had roles in the movies Independence Day (1996), Gnome Alone (2015) and Dead Ringer (2015).
Jenifer Lewis, Then
Lewis played Will’s aunt, Helen Smith. Helen was his mother, Vy, and his aunt Viv’s sister, who most enjoyed poking fun at Uncle Phil. Lewis had roles on Murphy Brown (1990) and A Different World (1990) before joining the Fresh Prince cast. During her time on the series, Lewis was also in Sister Act (1992) and Hangin' With Mr. Cooper (1993).
Jenifer Lewis, Now
The TV and movie vet was the voice of Mama Odie in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog (2009). She has had a recurring role on Black-ish, as Ruby, since 2014.
Brian Stokes Mitchell, Then
The Broadway star had a six episode arc on the sitcom, as Hilary’s stuffy news anchor boyfriend, Trevor Collins-Newsworthy. His character is best known for dying during a bungee-jumping accident, while proposing to Hilary on live TV. Before his stint on Fresh Prince, Stokes Mitchell had roles on New Kids on the Block (1990), James Bond Jr. (1991) and the Back to the Future TV series in 1992.
Brian Stokes Mitchell, Now
The actor and baritone singer has had a busy career since his days on the ‘90s sitcom. Stokes Mitchell has had roles on popular TV series Frasier (2002), Mr. Robot (2015) and The Path (2016). He also appeared as a leading man on Broadway in the shows A Wonderful Life (2005) and Oliver! (2012).
Sherman Hemsley, Then
The iconic All in the Family actor played Uncle Phil’s mentor, Judge Carl Robertson, on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Before appearing on the ‘90s sitcom, Hemsley was an established comedic actor with roles on The Jeffersons (1975), The Love Boat (1977), Amen (1986) and Family Matters (1994).
Sherman Hemsley, Now
After The Fresh Prince, the TV vet had roles on Sister, Sister (1995), The Hughleys (1999), Clunkers (2011) and House of Payne (2011). He died in 2012.
Queen Latifah, Then
The rapper, actress and singer was on two episodes of The Fresh Prince. Latifah played Dee Dee Williams, the daughter of one of Uncle Phil’s client’s, who becomes friends with Will. Before appearing on the series, Latifah was best known for her first hip-hop album, All Hail the Queen (1989).
Queen Latifah, Now
The movie and TV star, born Dana Owens, skyrocketed to fame after her appearance on the sitcom. Latifah was one of the leads on the TV series Living Single (1993). She went on to star in the movies Chicago (2002), Bringing Down the House (2003), Last Holiday (2006) and Hairspray (2007). She most recently starred on the TV series Star (2016) and Hollywood (2020). She had her own talk show in 2013 called The Queen Latifah Show. The singer has released eight studio albums total, during her career. In 2019, she was a guest judge on America’s Got Talent.
Vanessa Williams, Then
The former Miss America winner played Danny Mitchell, Will’s favorite sportscaster, on a 1992 episode of The Fresh Prince, titled “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” Before the series, the actress and singer had released two albums: The Right Stuff (1988) and The Comfort Zone (1991).
Vanessa Williams, Now
Williams has had a lengthy TV career, with roles on Boomtown (2003), South Beach (2006), Ugly Betty (2006), Desperate Housewives (2010), The Good Wife (2015) and Daytime Divas (2017). In 2020, she played Zora in the Hulu original movie Bad Hair. She also appeared on Broadway in Into the Woods (2002), The Trip to Bountiful (2013) and After Midnight (2014).
Virginia Capers, Then
Capers played Uncle Phil’s mother, Hattie Banks, on the ‘90s sitcom. Will calls her “granny” even though she is not his grandmother. Capers began her film career in 1961 as a saloon gal in Have Gun - Will Travel. She was known for her roles in Big Jake (1971), Lady Sings the Blues (1972) and The Toy (1982) before becoming a recurring character in the Fresh Prince universe.
Virginia Capers, Now
After the series, the actress appeared on Married… with Children (1996), Party of Five (1997), The Hughleys (1998), Snoops (1999) and ER (2001). She died in 2004.
Donald Trump, Then
Believe or not, Trump was once on an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The businessman had a cameo on the 1994 episode, “For Sale by Owner,” where he tried to buy the Banks family’s home. Before this TV appearance, Trump had small roles where he played himself on the TV series All My Children (1992) and in the movie Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992).
Donald Trump, Now
After a successful business and reality TV career, the former host of The Apprentice (2004) and The Celebrity Apprentice (2004) was elected the 45th U.S. president in 2016.