Fresh Prince star Alfonso Ribeiro says the show ended his acting career

Actor played nerdy Carlton Banks on the hit Nineties series

Maira Butt
Monday 20 May 2024 09:27 BST
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Alfonso Ribeiro performs the Carlton Dance

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Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Alfonso Ribeiro has blamed his role on the show for ending his acting career.

Ribeiro played Carlton Banks, a nerdy and politically conservative teenager, and cousin to the street-smart Will (Will Smith), who moves from Philadelphia to live with his wealthy uncle and aunt in their Bel-Air mansion.

The sitcom originally ran from 1990 to 1996 and launched Smith’s career, with a reboot announced in 2020.

But Ribeiro, who currently hosts Dancing with the Stars, has said that the show had the opposite effect on his own, calling it a “sacrifice”.

“Playing Carlton on Fresh Prince became a sacrifice. I used to always say doing Carlton was the greatest and worst thing that ever happened to me,” the 52-year-old told Closer Weekly.

“It was one of the greatest roles that I ever was fortunate enough to play. But it was also the role that stopped me from acting again because people couldn’t see me as anything else. The sacrifice was not having an acting career anymore.”

However, Ribeiro said he feels no ill-will towards his fellow cast and said they remain his favourite part of the experience.

“Before every show, we would go into Will Smith’s dressing room, and we’d play music and dance and just have a great energy buildup to get ready for the show. Those are some great memories of just being together,” he said.

Ribeiro blames his role on the show for the end of his acting career
Ribeiro blames his role on the show for the end of his acting career (Getty Images)

Ribeiro’s character became famous for his signature dance on the show, which became known as the “Carlton”. The former actor attempted to sue two Fortnite video game creators for using the dance in 2019, but was unsuccessful.

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After his role on the cult classic, he appeared in smaller acting roles and went on to make a number of reality TV appearances, including on Dancing with the Stars and I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

After winning the 19th season of the popular dance programme along with his dance partner Witney Carson, Ribeiro went on to co-host Dancing with the Stars alongside Tyra Banks from its 31st season. Last year, he became the show’s main host alongside his co-host and Footloose star Julianne Hough.

“I’m enjoying being a host and am very happy with it. But, yes, I would go back to acting if it was exactly the right thing,” he said.

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