Will Smith signed agreed to star in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air because he owed the IRS $2.8 million!
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, may just be one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. The humor on the show often consisted of running gags - such as Will making fun of his slightly overweight Uncle Phil's size, Carlton dancing ridiculously on the show, and Will's friend Jazz being thrown out of the house for a range of different reasons. But, before the show became something we all known and love - it was a solution to a problem facing Will Smith.
In 1989, Will Smith was a successful rapper known as The Fresh Prince, although he grossly overspent his money and paid a small percent of income taxes. As it turns out, he was SUPPOSED to be paying a lot more income taxes - and ended up owing the IRS $2.8 million as a result. The agency seized almost all of his belongings, and hijacked his income.
Will was facing the dreaded fate of being bankrupt, when an NBC producer approached him and asked if he would star in a sitcom revolving around himself. 6 seasons and 148 episodes later, we have one of the best sitcoms of the 90's.