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May 01, 2020

'Fresh Prince of Bel Air' cast reunites on Will Smith Snapchat series

Philly native and co-stars pay tribute to the late James Avery

Will Smith caught up with the cast members of “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, to reflect on the moments that defined their characters – including the reason Smith went with his full name on the sitcom. 

The show debuted 30 years ago this fall. 

The show's regulars – Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton), Tatyana Ali (Ashley), Karyn Parsons (Hilary), Joseph Marcell (Geoffrey), Daphne Reid (Vivian) and DJ Jazzy Jeff – appeared on a two-part episode of Smith's Snapchat series "Will From Home." 

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"The reason my character's name is Will Smith is because of you," Smith told Ribeiro. "It was such a deep insight that you had. You said, 'Because people are going to call you that for the rest of your life.'"

Fans of the show grew to love Jeff and Smith's chemistry — including their secret handshake. But, apparently, Jeff wasn't too keen on it. 

"I got really, really annoyed at everyone who wanted to do the handshake," he said. "You would see in people’s eyes when they were about to sneak the handshake and I would just grab their hand and hold it."

In the second part of the episode, the clips segued into an emotional tribute to James Avery, who died of complications related to open heart surgery in 2013. Avery played Uncle Phil on the sitcom.

Smith later posted the tribute to Instagram writing, "Our show wouldn't have been HALF what it was without the talent and light that was James Avery. We all love and miss you, James." 

As the show ended, a teary-eyed Reid said she was proud of Smith's accomplishments.

“You are guys are my second family and I’ve been shaped by my interactions and relationships," Smith said. "When I look back, the best times in my life will have been on that set.”

The two-part episode is available through Snapchat by following "Will From Home." 

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