The Cast Of The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air Reunites 20 Years Later
It’s been over 20 years since the final episode of The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, but the show’s impact continues to this day. Each and every day, the show plays on channels across the country, and it has left an indelible mark in both Hip-Hop and sit-com history. Yesterday (March 27), the cast reunited, and Alfonso Ribeiro, who played “Carlton,” shared a picture of the occasion with the world. Though there was a gaping hole without the late James Avery, who played Uncle Phil, the caption said it all: “Always amazing to spend an afternoon with my Fresh Prince family. Wishing that James Avery was still with us to make this complete.”
The NBC-aired television show not only helped launch the career of Will Smith but also cultivated a strong Hip-Hop presence in American living rooms throughout its six-year run. In recent years, a nostalgic eye and ear have been tuned into the show, most sadly when actor James Avery (who played Uncle Phil) passed away on the last day of 2013. Many tributes for the 25th anniversary of its initial airing on September 10, 1990, included reports of a reboot. At the time of that anniversary, Karyn Parsons, who portrayed “Hilary,” shared her story with ABC, recounting the highs and lows of being part of such a historic piece of pop culture.
After going through the auditions process and landing the role, Parsons learned there almost was no Hilary character, based on the sentiments of an executive at the network. “I was also told later on that Brandon Tartikoff, who was the president of NBC at the time, had said, ‘I don’t really understand the sister character, I think we should probably lose that character,” she shares. “Luckily, the team was like, ‘Wait, wait, wait till this actress comes in.’ They meant me.”
Hilary turned out to be an integral role in the show as did Carlton, her brother, played by Alfonso Ribeiro. While impossibly hard to imagine now, his character was also allegedly on the chopping block. Parsons divulged that another executive, network VP Warren Littlefield, had a bit of trouble grasping the Carlton character. “There was a period that was really tense,” she says. “They were going to get rid of Carlton. In the writing, the character was changing a lot and it wasn’t really clear who he was…But Alfonso came in there and put his foot in it, and made that character what it was. It’s hard to tell, because he played such a goofy character, but Alf, he’s so sharp and so talented. He crafted that role into what it is today.”
Parsons’ anecdotes go far beyond the characters on the show, as she discusses the relationships between the real-life stars, her first impressions of the cast members, the ensuing family that was built off screen, and what she has been up to since the show. It’s clear, based on their reunion picture 20 years later, the ties between the cast members continue to run deep. To read her story in its entirety, visit ABC News.