Fans of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air saw Will Smith at his most vulnerable today, Friday, May 1st. Will Smith and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air cast tearfully reminisced on their relationships with co-star, James Avery, who played Uncle Phil on the popular TV series which catapulted Will Smith’s career.
Avery died 7 years ago in 2013 due to heart surgery complications, and today, the cast of the cult comedy TV show recalled what it was like to work with him. Today was the 30th anniversary of the first episode of Fresh Prince.
Will Smith, 51, was the first one to become visibly emotional when they watched an old scene with Avery, who portrayed Philip Banks. The emotional scene was featured on Will Smith’s Snapchat series, “WFH Will From Home.”
While trying to hold back his tears, Will Smith admitted it made him very “teary” to see Avery again. Not long after, the other cast members became emotional as well. In one part of the montage, Avery says to the actor that people have to rely on each other to be successful.
Interestingly, Will Smith explained how Alfonso Ribeiro convinced him to keep his real name. Alfonso said it was crucial for Will to use his birth name because people were going to refer to him by his character for life. Ironically, Alfonso Ribeiro’s career was hurt by the success of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air due to the type-cast phenomena.
Will Smith also reminisced on the notorious handshake with DJ Jazzy Jeff. Jeff admitted it was very annoying to him when everyone always wanted to do it. DJ Jazzy Jeff claimed he could see it in people’s eyes when they were going to go for the special handshake.
As it was noted above, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was the show that made Will Smith a huge star.
It ran for 148 episodes from 1990 until the ending of 1996. Before the Zoom chat went live, Will Smith teased the reunion on his social media account, saying that there was no better way of having a 30th-anniversary reunion than to have a Zoom conversation.