Will Smith signed on to do "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" because he was broke and in trouble with the IRS.
Smith recently told the backstory of how he became part of the iconic sitcom on his newly formed YouTube channel. The story begins with Smith finding fame after he and DJ Jazzy Jeff released their breakout hit “Parents Just Don’t Understand" in the late 1980s.
Smith says he blew through all of his money, didn't pay his taxes and then had a flop when the rap duo released their second album.
In trouble and hopeless, his then-girlfriend suggested Smith just hang around Paramount near the "The Arsenio Hall Show" studio in hopes of meeting someone influential. It worked. Before he knew it, Smith was at the home of Quincy Jones, spitballing what would become "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air".
Doing an impromptu audition at Jones' home in front of NBC's Brandon Tartikoff, Smith was able to land the lead role in the show that would help make him a superstar.
"The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" ran for six seasons from 1990 to 1996.