Will Smith's Life in Pictures

Will Smith's Life in Pictures
ESSENCE.COM Sep, 25, 2008

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As our favorite leading man turns 42, we look back at a few of his most memorable moments.

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In 1989, rap duo Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince won their first Grammy for Best Rap Performance for “Parents Just Don’t Understand.”

-Porsche Slocum

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The “Ali” star has the look of a champion on the set of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” in 1990.

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The Fresh Prince looks fly on the set of his hit show.

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Smith played Nia Long’s boyfriend in the 1993 film “Made in America.”

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Box office action hero Will Smith squeezes in for a pic with wife Jada and son Trey at the 1996 premiere of “Independence Day” in Los Angeles.

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As alien buster Officer James Darrel Edwards III in 1997’s “Men In Black,” Smith drew audiences to the theaters in droves. The film was so successful the studio released a sequel in 2002.

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Will accepts his Grammy in 1999 for “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It,” with Jada by himself.

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In what some have called the role of his life, Smith nailed his portrayal of boxing legend Muhammad Ali in 2001’s “Ali,” earning him his first Oscar nod for Best Actor.

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Always supportive of the Mrs. Will surprised Jada during a performance by her band Wicked Wisdom.

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Will Smith earned his second Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his role as Chris Gardner in 2006’s “The Pursuit of Happyness.” The film told the real-life story of Gardner, a struggling salesman, who takes custody of his son (Jayden Smith) as he’s poised to begin a life-changing professional endeavor.

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Smith passes the torch to his children, from left, Trey, Jaden and Willow, who are already on their way to achieving Hollywood success. Will and Jada were the executive producers behind Karate Kid, starring Jaden.

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Will Smith gives Jaden an awe-inducing peck on the cheek at a Press conference in Berlin while promoting “The Karate Kid.”

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Smith passes the torch to his children, from left, Trey, Jaden and Willow, who are already on their way to achieving Hollywood success.

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Hollywood’s favorite couple can’t keep their hands off of each other at “The Women” premiere in Los Angeles in 2008.

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Hollywood’s favorite couple can’t keep their hands off of each other at “The Women” premiere in Los Angeles in 2008.

17 of 19 Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Essence

Will was on hand to help Jada receive the Power Award at ESSENCE’s 2008 Women in Hollywood Luncheon.

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The Hollywood star serves as photographer in a photo with fans while out promoting 2008’s “Hancock.”

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The Smith family and “Karate Kid” costar Jackie Chan share a special moment while promoting the movie. Will and Jada say they look at parenting as family business. “What can we do to facilitate the group… how do we incorporate all this talent that we have in our family to create an environment where all our dreams can come true?” they said on Oprah.

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