Take a Minute, Just Sit Right There and See The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Cast, Then and Now

It's been over 30 years since Will Smith moved into his auntie and uncle's house & The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air debuted. See what the cast has been up to in honor of Peacock's reimagined series.

By Billy Nilles Feb 12, 2022 12:00 PMTags
Watch: A Blast From Interviews Past: "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"

It's been more than 30 years since one of the most iconic theme songs first played on TV.

On Sept. 10, 1990, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air arrived on NBC, quickly making star Will Smith a household name while delivering an opening credits sequence that TV fans of a certain generation can, without a doubt, recite by heart. You know the one. Say it with us now:

Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down. And I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there. I'll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel-Air. 

In West Philadelphia, born and raised...

OK, we'll spare you the rest. But trust us, homes, we know it all.

In any event, it's been three decades since the show—co-created by Quincy Jones and based loosely on famed music manager Benny Medina's life—debuted, eventually running for six seasons and 148 episodes before Smith would go on to become one of the biggest stars in the world.

Will Smith's Craziest Looks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Now, Peacock's reimagined series Bel-Air is giving fans a dramatic take on the iconic sitcom with Jabari Banks taking on Smith's role as Will (Jones, Smith and Medina are all producers on the highly anticipated new series).

In honor of Bel-Air's series premiere on Peacock tomorrow, Feb. 13, we're checking in on the rest of the original Fresh Prince cast to see what they've been up to since they said goodbye to the Banks residence.

Scroll through the gallery below for an update before Sunday's Bel-Air premiere.

Will Smith

As if we even have to tell you what this guy's been up to for the last 30-something years. When The Fresh Prince came to an end in 1996, Smith went on to become one of the biggest movie stars in the world, beginning with Independence Day. Since that blockbuster, he's starred in countless films, including Men in Black, Ali (earning him his first Oscar nomination), The Pursuit of Happyness (earning him his second), I Am Legend, Suicide Squad, Aladdin and Bad Boys for Life, just to name a few. 

In 1997, he also began his solo music career, eventually releasing four albums without DJ Jazzy Jeff and spawning hits like "Gettin' Jiggy wit It," "Miami," "Men in Black," and "Wild Wild West."

That same year, he married second wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith. The couple have two children, son Jaden and daughter Willow, while Smith is also dad to son Trey from his first marriage.

Janet Hubert

After playing Aunt Viv for the show's first three seasons, Hubert went on to make appearances on series as varied as The Jamie Foxx Show, NYPD Blue, Gilmore Girls, Friends and Tyler Perry's House of Payne. Since 2018, she's played Yvonne Godfrey on General Hospital.

In 1994, she and husband James Whitten split after welcoming son Elijah. She got remarried to Larry Kraft in 2005. She and Smith famously did not get along while filming, which lead to her departure, and she has carried on a mostly one-sided feud with the superstar for years.

James Avery

After six seasons as Uncle Phil, Avery starred on the short-lived UPN series Sparks, made appearances on shows like CSI, That '70s Show, The Closer and Grey's Anatomy, and provided voice work on animated series including The Wild Thornberrys, Pepper Ann, The Proud Family and Da Jammies. He also appeared in films like Doctor Dolittle 2, Raise Your Voice, Hair Show and Wish I Was Here.

Sadly, on December 31, 2013, Avery passed away at 68 from complications following open heart surgery. "Some of my greatest lessons in acting, living, and being a respectable human being came through James Avery," Smith said upon his death. "Every young man needs an Uncle Phil. Rest in peace."

Daphne Maxwell Reid

After replacing Hubert and playing Aunt Viv for the show's final three seasons, Maxwell Reid made guest appearances on shows like Sister, Sister (appearing opposite her husband and the show's star Tim Reid), Crossing Jordan, Eve and Let's Stay Together. She also appeared in the 2000 Disney Channel Original Movie Alley Cats Strike.

An accomplished photographer who made history as the first Black woman on the cover of Glamour, she and Reid owned and operated New Millennium Studios in Petersburg, Va., until 2014.

Alfonso Ribeiro

Following his breakthrough role as Carlton Banks, Ribeiro went on to star in the NBC-turned-UPN series In the House and make appearances in episodes of Big Time Rush and Shake It Up. He later turned to reality TV, competing on Duets, I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here, and Dancing With the Stars, which he won in 2014. That resurgence led to him taking over hosting duties on both America's Funniest Home Videos and the Cooking Channel's Unwrapped 2.0 in 2015.

While married to Robin Stapler from 2002-06, he welcomed his first child, daughter Sienna. After remarrying to Angela Unkrich in 2012, he welcomed three more children, sons Alfonso Lincoln Ribeiro, Jr. and Anders Reyn and daughter Ava Sue.

Karyn Parsons

After leaving haughty Hilary Banks behind, Parsons went on to co-create and star in the very short-lived 1996 Fox sitcom Lush Life, appear on Melrose Place, and co-star on Denis Leary's short-lived series The Job. She also starred in the 2000 film The Ladies Man, based on Tim Meadows' popular SNL character. In 2019, she published her first novel, How High the Moon.

Already divorced from her first husband by the time The Fresh Prince began, Parsons married her second husband, director Alexandre Rockwell, in 2003. They are parents to daughter Lana and son Nico.

Tatyana M. Ali

Since her days as Ashley Banks, Ali has made appearances on shows like Living Single, The Eric Andre Show, Key & Peele and Hollywood Darlings, recurred on The Young and the Restless from 2007-13, and starred in the first three seasons of TV One's Love That Girl! from 2010-12. Ali's also appeared in the films Jawbreaker, The Brothers and Glory Road, as well as a handful of TV movies, and she briefly had a music career, releasing her debut album Kiss the Sky in 1998 and an EP in 2014.

In 2016, she married Dr. Vaughn Raspberry, whom she met on eHarmony. They have two sons, Edward and Alejandro.

Joseph Marcell

After six seasons as Banks residence butler Geoffrey, Marcell appeared on Living Single, In the House and The Bold and the Beautiful in the States and EastEnders, Holby City and Death in Paradise in the UK. In 2019, he appeared in Chiwetel Ejiofor's directorial debut, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Ross Bagley

After joining The Fresh Prince in season five as little Nicky Banks, Bagley's relationship with Will Smith continued in the 1996 film Independence Day, playing his son Dylan. Aside from a few guest appearances on some TV dramas, his career cooled off by the mid-2000s, though he did pop up in a pair of horror films in 2015. He currently resides in Los Angeles, where he also works as a DJ.

DJ Jazzy Jeff

After six seasons of popping up as Will's best friend Jazz, Smith and his real-life music partner, born Jeffrey Allen Townes, went their separate ways, professionally, with Jeff becoming a prominent record producer in Philadelphia through his A Touch of Jazz label. He has two sons, journalist Cory Townes and actor Amir Mitchell-Townes. In 2010, he married Lynette C. Jackson.

Vernee Watson-Johnson

Throughout all six seasons, Watson-Johnson would pop up as Will's mom Vy. Since her time on the show, she's appeared on plenty of other series, including The X-Files, Two and a Half Men, Dexter, Desperate Housewives, Young Sheldon and The Resident. She can currently be seen recurring on General Hospital (in a role that has netted her two Daytime Emmys) and starring on CBS' Bob Hearts Abishola. She's also appeared in the films Antwone Fisher, Christmas With the Cranks and Clemency.

Jenifer Lewis

After recurring as Will's Aunt Helen for much of the show's run, the original Dreamgirl starred in Strong Medicine, made appearances on Touched by an Angel, Girlfriends, Boston Legal and Meet the Browns, and can currently be seen starring on black-ish. A spinoff for her character on the ABC comedy, to be called old-ishis in the works. Lewis also appeared in several films, including The Preacher's Wife, Blast From the Past, Mystery Men, Cast Away, Think Like a Man and The Wedding Ringer, while voicing Flo in the Cars franchise and Mama Odie in The Princess and the Frog. She married retired Marine 1st Sergeant Arnold Byrd in 2012. 

Smell ya later!

(Originally published on May 20, 2020 at 3 a.m. PST.)