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THEN: The Philly rapper didn't have to step far outside of himself for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, playing Will Smith, a high school student born and raised in West Philadelphia. The onscreen Will finds himself in Los Angeles' swanky neighborhood of Bel-Air, where he moves in with his aunt and uncle and tries to adapt to their lifestyle.
NOW: Fresh Prince was just the beginning for the "Parents Just Don't Understand" performer. Smith's acting career soon became more lucrative than his time in the studio, as he made the transition to the big screen. The movie star nabbed roles in Men in Black, I Am Legend, and I, Robot and earned Academy Award nominations for The Pursuit of Happyness and Ali.
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THEN: Ribeiro busted out some infamous dance moves as Will's preppy cousin, Carlton Banks. The high school student with a passion for tying sweaters around his neck has Ivy League dreams, expensive taste, and conservative views.
NOW: The former child star had already been in the business for 10 years when he booked his part on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He continued his acting career after the show's wrap with a role in NBC's In the House and voice work in Spider-Man and Extreme Ghostbusters. Ribeiro returned to television in 2014 as a contestant on Dancing With the Stars.
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THEN: The father figure of the show, Avery played Philip Banks. The Harvard Law graduate is Will's uncle and Carlton's dad and is known for his passion for politics and his quick temper. Uncle Phil takes care of Will, as well as his own children, and is one of the most successful members of the family.
NOW: Avery counted dozens of television and film roles after The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air's series finale in 1996. He went on to appear in UPN's Sparks, made cameos in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Dharma & Greg, and That '70s Show, and hit the big screen in Raise Your Voice, Hair Show, and Wish I Was Here. After his illustrious career, Avery passed away due to complications from heart surgery at the age of 68 in 2013.
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THEN: Hubert opened the show as matriarch Vivian Banks. She played Will's aunt and the mother to Carlton, Ashley, and Hilary until the end of Fresh Prince's third season. She was eventually fired from the show after feuding with Smith, and handed the reins over to Daphne Reid, who played Vivian for the fourth, fifth, and sixth seasons.
NOW: Following Fresh Prince, Hubert made appearances in The Jamie Foxx Show, NYPD Blue, One Life to Live, and Friends. She spoke about Smith in recent years, telling Yahoo! that she thinks it's time for a reunion with the star and the exchange of mutual apologies.
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THEN: Reid took over for Hubert in 1993, becoming new mom Vivian to the three original children and newborn baby Nicky. She raises the youngest son and never acknowledges that she wasn't the maternal figure from the beginning.
NOW: After her mid-series entrance into Fresh Prince, Reid made cameos in Sister, Sister, In the House, and Crossing Jordan. Reid also had an arc in Eve, and appeared in the Disney TV movie Alley Cats Strike.
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THEN: Parsons hit Fresh Prince as Hilary Banks, Carlton's older sister and Will's cousin. The beautiful valley girl enrolls at UCLA but ends up dropping out. She eventually finds a successful future in television, leading her namesake daytime talk show.
NOW: Much like her character Hilary, Parsons also largely stuck to television after saying goodbye to the show. She starred in FOX's short-lived Lush Life, later booking gigs on Melrose Place, Showtime's Linc's, and ABC's The Job. Parsons also made film appearances in The Ladies Man and 13 Moons.
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THEN: The Sesame Street alum took on the role of Banks daughter Ashley Banks. The youngest of the three kids, Ashley has a close relationship with her cousin Will and grows up over the course of the show, much to her father Phil's chagrin.
NOW: Ali kept very busy after Fresh Prince, earning a bachelor's degree from Harvard and continuing her decades-long acting career as she tried her hand at music. She had a recurring role in The Young and the Restless, and earned feature film credits for Jawbreaker, Kiss the Girls, and Glory Road, among others.
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THEN: Marcell was Fresh Prince's butler Geoffrey. The British assistant has an air of sophistication and a colorful past that includes brushes with England's royal family. Geoffrey brings humor to the show with his wit and cynicism, and offers an outside perspective on the Banks family.
NOW: After hanging up his apron and three-piece suit, Marcell booked a similar role on The Bold and the Beautiful. He later appeared in EastEnders and starred in Royal Shakespeare Company and Globe Theatre productions of King Lear, Othello, and A Midsummer Night's Dream.
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THEN: Bagely joined The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air when he was just 5 years old, playing the newest addition to the Banks family, baby Nicky. Significantly younger than his cousin Will and his older siblings Carlton, Hilary, and Ashley, Nicky brought an adorable dynamic to the show.
NOW: Bagely continued to act into his teens, appearing in Eye for an Eye, Independence Day, and Judging Amy. After a nearly 10-year hiatus, the Little Rascals star recently picked up parts in two indie horror films.
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DJ Jazzy Jeff (Jeffery A. Townes)
THEN: The DJ starred alongside his pal Smith as Jazz. Taking inspiration from the real DJ Jazzy Jeff, Jazz works with Fresh Prince's Will on music and is his best friend. The Compton, Calif. resident has a big crush on Will's cousin Hilary and butts heads with her father Phil accordingly.
NOW: Credited as Jeffery A. Townes on Fresh Prince, Jazzy Jeff all but abandoned his acting career after the sitcom ended. He continued to earn credits with his contributions to film and TV soundtracks, and focused on his music with the release of solo projects and production work.
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THEN: Long had an arc on Fresh Prince as Lisa Wilkes. She was featured more than a dozen times in the show's final seasons, playing Will's love interest. The two plan a wedding but never make it through their vows.
NOW: Long continued to appear on television with cameos in ER, Moesha, and Judging Amy, and a main role in NBC's Third Watch. She also went on to see success in movies, with parts in Soul Food, The Best Man, Boiler Room, and Alfie.
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THEN: Watson had a turn in Fresh Prince as Will's mother, Vy Smith. She is the sister to Will's aunt Vivian, and the one who decides to send Will to live with the family in California. Vy is a loving and concerned parent, and thinks Will will make a better life for himself outside of Philadelphia.
NOW: The star transitioned from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to roles in Sister, Sister, The Young and the Restless, and Days of Our Lives. She also appeared in Antwone Fisher, The Kid, and Highland Park.
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THEN: Early in her career, Banks earned her first acting credits as Fresh Prince's Jackie Ames. Jackie and Will were childhood friends in Philadelphia and end up reconnecting in Los Angeles. While there's a spark between the two, Will tries unsuccessfully to win her over.
NOW: Banks kick-started a television career with the '90s series, going on to appear in All That, Just Shoot Me!, Felicity, and Gossip Girl. She's led more than 10 years of America's Next Top Model and booked movie roles with Love Stinks, Love & Basketball, and Coyote Ugly.