How Alfonso Ribeiro’s portrayal of Carlton in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” nearly ended his acting career

There are several television characters who have achieved iconic status. One of these is “Carlton Banks,” played by actor Alfonso Ribeiro in the venerable comedy The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

The Fresh Prince of Bel Air not only gave Ribeiro his big break, but it also earned him stardom and a whole new life, and his catchy dance style continues to captivate people to this day.

However, Ribeiro claims that portraying Carlton Banks wasn’t always as enjoyable now that he has married, had four kids, and advanced in life. The 50-year-old said that at one time, despite everyone believing he did an excellent job, it nearly destroyed his career since no one wanted to hire him.

The following information about Alfonso Ribeiro may help you understand why his wife previously referred to him as her “stalker.”

After performing an iconic part, performers can occasionally get stereotyped in Hollywood. For instance, it’s very hard to not recognize Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter if you watch a movie or television series with him in it.

Alfonso Ribeiro, who rose to fame as Carlton Banks in the venerable comedy The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, is another of these performers.

The Bronx, New York native co-starred in the upcoming remake of the series with Will Smith. After the series, however, Hollywood was less interested in hiring Ribeiro – not because he was horrible, but for a completely other reason.

This is all you need to know about Alfonso Ribeiro, as well as meet his lovely wife, Angela Unkrich.

On September 21, 1971, Alfonso Ribeiro was born in New York. Alfonso’s parents, who are from Trinidad and Tobago, recognized his exceptional potential for acting and dancing at a young age. Given that a number of his family members were involved in the entertainment industry, it may not have come as a huge surprise.

Albert Ribeiro, the grandson of Ribeiro, performed as “Lord Hummingbird” and his aunt danced on the 1960s sketch comedy program Laugh-In.

Alfonso’s parents worked to assist him improve as they saw his talent.

In an interview, Ribeiro remembered how his father, who served as his manager, frequently told him, “Here’s what we’re going to do: The more eggs you have in the basket, the more possibilities you have for one of them to hatch when you need them to hatch.”

“‘And so we’re just going to learn to do everything. We’re going to learn how to dance, we’re going to learn how to sing, we’re going to learn how to act, we’re going to learn how to entertain, we’re going to learn how to talk, we’re going to learn how to read. We’re going to be well-rounded in the business.’”

Alfonso Ribeiro was born and raised in the Bronx neighborhood of New York City. He made his debut in show business in 1980 when he was just 9 years old. He was cast in the show Oye Willie, but his success came through his dance.

As “the first kid to do it” in the Broadway production of The Tap Dance Kid in 1983, Ribeiro’s casting provided a platform for many bigger opportunities. A superstar soon arrived on the door when the little Bronx boy shot a commercial with a filmmaker called Bob Giraldi in the middle of the 1980s.

Michael Jackson performed in multiple Pepsi commercials in 1984 and searched for young dancers to appear with him. Alfonso ended up being the ideal candidate, as it turned out.

“Michael Peters, who ended up directing the commercial for The Tap Dance Kid, was Michael Jackson’s choreographer, and he was like, ‘Oh, we got a kid.’ And Bob Giraldi goes ‘No, no, no, I got a kid’ and comes to find out that it was the same kid and it happened to be me.”

Alfonso Ribeiro performed a dance routine with Michael Jackson in the now-iconic Pepsi commercial, which led to numerous job chances for him.

Ribeiro had already started his career as a musician when he started dancing with Michael Jackson. At the age of ten, he recorded many singles and even had a record deal.

At that time, he was also cast in the popular television show Silver Spoons, playing the character of Alfonso Spears for 72 episodes over the course of four years.

Ribeiro chose to finish high school when the program ended and took a break from performing. He later relocated to the west coast where he studied at Cal State in Los Angeles before turning to acting. Ribeiro soon received his big break: in 1990, he made an appearance in an episode of A Different World and was set to return the next season as a series regular.

But later, Alfonso was also given a role in the new television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as Carlton Banks. He had to decide because both shows were NBC productions.

In the end, Fresh Prince was chosen, and it was a wise decision.

According to him, it might not be too late to truly return to A Different World if this thing doesn’t go away, he said. “I felt as though I was giving myself the best chance, so to speak. We immediately saw there was something extraordinary there as soon as we arrived on set.”

Carlton Banks, played by Alfonso Ribeiro, rose to become one of the show’s most well-liked characters. His numerous amusing remarks and spectacular dancing movements became symbols of the 1990s. The 148-episode run of the program continues to air in repeats today.

The “Carlton Dance” was adopted as Alfonso’s logo. Even now, people regularly beg Ribeiro to do the dance, despite the fact that he didn’t create it on his own.

“On the Fresh Prince, they essentially had a screenplay that said, you know, Carlton dances, and I asked, “Okay, well, how would Carlton dance? I’m stealing it, you know,” he added. Alfonso Ribeiro recalls, “I took it from Courtney Cox and Eddie Murphy. “It combines all of that with a little bit of me in it,” the speaker said.

“It just mentioned in the script, ‘Carlton dances,’ and I had to come up with what that dance was, kind of the initial phases of any character,” Alfonso Ribeiro added. “You’re imagining several actions the character may do. Obviously, he dances, but what exactly does he do? What dance is that? Although it’s quite broad, what do you do and what do you create?

Alfonso Ribeiro’s stay at Carlton changed his life forever, but it also affected his future career.

He was consistently mistaken for Carlton rather than Alfonso, which presented a significant challenge for casting directors and producers. In the end, he believed that stereotyping was the reason he didn’t land roles.

Ribeiro said that he felt penalized for playing Carlton.

“Because I won, everything I love was taken away from me. “It is a really tough thing to cope with playing a part role like Carlton and people like the role, and you do the job so well that they effectively tell you that you can’t do it anymore because we can’t envision you as anything else,” Ribeiro said.

“Wait a minute, but I did it well’. I did my duties. I completed the task at hand, and I succeeded in convincing you that this is who I am. Actors are expected to perform in that way. I was then made to pay for it. Because I would have been prevented from practicing my art. I was no longer able to perform it.

Ribeiro gave further details regarding the difficult time. He discussed the need for reform in the entertainment industry and the need to end stereotyping.

“I’ve always said that the idea that you can do something so well in your life that no one will allow you to do it again, is very difficult to go through.”

“Imagine being the greatest home run hitter in the game and never being allowed to go hit home runs because you hit home runs. Doesn’t make sense. But in show business, that sometimes is the case. So having to reinvent myself by turning myself into myself, which is weird.”

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air wasn’t always good for his career, as Ribeiro said. But in the end, he was able to play one of the most adored characters in television history, cementing his position in history.

So, what did he do next? Alongside LL Cool J, Alfonso Ribeiro was cast in the comedy In The House, one of his many successful productions. He also gained recognition as a host on America’s Funniest Home Videos and placed eighth in the dancing competition on the 2014 season of Dancing With The Stars.

Alfonso Ribeiro has not only developed into a well-liked and renowned actor but also met the love of his life.

He married the actress Angela Unkrich in 2012. Between 2002 to 2007, Ribeiro was also married to Robin Stapler, with whom he had a daughter named Sienna.

Angela and Alfonso originally met a year before, although she wasn’t very intrigued at first. Angela recalls Alfonso using a new set of techniques to attract her attention.

Angela said, “I called him my stalker.” “I had no idea who he was at the time.” He claimed to be a director. And I was firmly of the opinion that “I don’t want to date someone in the entertainment industry.”

The two went on numerous dates before becoming inseparable.

But it hasn’t always been simple for them to be together. Alfonso stated in 2021 that because he had a mixed-race relationship, because he married Angela, a white woman, the Black community has rejected him.

The couple welcomed baby Alfonso Lincoln in 2013 and son Anders two years later. The birth of daughter Ava Sue was announced by Ribeiro and Ulkrich in 2019.

“I try to do everything in my power to make sure that my family’s with me on all of these journeys that I have to go on. I feel it’s incredibly important,” Alfonso says.

Alfonso is a devoted family guy and the proud father of his mixed-race children. He frequently posts photos of his family to Instagram, and he also occasionally honors his late wife.

Along with his ex-wife, Robin Stapler, Alfonso has a daughter. In June 2021, when Sienna Ribeiro graduated from high school, Alfonso was especially proud of his daughter. Sienna Ribeiro was born in 2003.

“My baby girl Sienna just Graduated from High School. I’m so proud. She’s gonna go do big things in her life. She’s smart, beautiful, motivated, funny, passionate and makes everyone around her happier,” Alfonso wrote on Instagram.

Alfonso Ribeiro has a gorgeous family and a successful job. We hope the future is bright for him and his family!

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