WillCarltonAshleyHilaryUncle PhilAunt VivianGeoffreyNickyJazzVia NBC / Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Pick A "Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air" Character, Get A Fact About Them
Will wasn’t actually a character at all, but was Will Smith playing himself. Before his role in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Will Smith had no formal training. For this reason, Will’s character was written to be as much like Will as possible, allowing him to just be himself.
The famous Carlton dance was inspired by a video of Bruce Springsteen and Courtney Cox called "Dancing in the Dark". It was also inspired by Eddie Murphy’s “white man dance” in his comedy video "Delirious".
Ashley’s adolescent milestones were so intertwined with Tatyana Ali’s own that Ashley’s first kiss on the show was her first kiss too. Due to the fact everyone knew it would be her first ever kiss, the stage was full, and Tatyana kissed a boy on stage with approximately 100 people on it.
Hilary Banks was inspired by executive producer Quincy Jones’ daughter. The whole "fish-out-of-water" concept of the show was based on the idea of Will living Quincy's Bel-Air life. His daughter, who he would tell stories about to the cast, reportedly text him from camp once saying "Dad, the water here sucks—please FedEx Evian." From anecdotes like these, the character of Hilary was born.
When reading for the part, James Avery, who played Uncle Phil, had no idea who Will Smith was in real life. When he entered the room, Will was sitting with his feet on the table and hat turned sideways. Avery told him to put his feet down, turn his hat around and look at him when he was spoken to. Will respected the actor and did as he’d requested, and Avery was given the part of Uncle Phil straightaway. Bonus fact: Uncle Phil’s law firm, “Firth, Wynn, and Meyer”, was a play on the band name Earth, Wind & Fire. Executive producer Quincy Jones was a big fan of the group.
Vivian Banks’ original name was Wendy Banks, but director Debbie Allen changed it. Allen’s mother and daughter are both named Vivian, and she changed the character’s name when Janet Hubert (the first actor to play Vivian) reminded her of her mother. The producers loved it and agreed to the change.
Geoffrey Barbara Butler was an Oxford graduate, Olympic marathoner, had previously worked for Chuck Norris and Led Zeppelin, and had a son named Frederick.
Nicky’s middle names are Andrew Michael Shawn Nathan Wanya. The last four names are in honour of the Boyz II Men members who sang at his christening in Season 4.
As you know, one of the running gags of the show is that Jazz gets thrown out a lot. Luckily for DJ Jazzy Jeff though, he didn’t have to get thrown out several times. Only one shot of Jazz being thrown out of the house was recorded (aside from a few exceptions). So, in order to avoid continuity errors, Jazz had to wear the same shirt in episodes where he’s thrown out.