In the late 1980s, Smith achieved modest fame as a rapper under the name The Fresh Prince. In 1990, his popularity increased dramatically when he starred in the popular television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The show ran for nearly six years (1990-1996) on NBC and has been syndicated consistently on various networks since then. In the mid-1990s, Smith moved from television to film, and ultimately starred in numerous blockbuster films. He is the only actor to have eight consecutive films gross over $100 million in the domestic box office, and ten consecutive films gross over $150 million internationally and the only one to have eight consecutive films in which he starred open at #1 spot in the domestic box office tally.
Sixteen of the twenty fiction films he has acted in have accumulated worldwide gross earnings of over $100 million, and four took in over $500 million in global box office receipts. As of 2013, his films have grossed $6.63 billion in global box office. He received Best Actor Oscar nominations for Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness.
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