Actress Janet Hubert is probably best known as Aunt Vivian on the Will Smith sitcom, 'Fresh Prince of Bel Air.'
The 53-year-old actress was fired from the show in 1993 and replaced by actress Daphne Maxwell Reid.
Now the twice-married, mother of one has penned a memoir, 'Perfection Is Not A Sitcom Mom' that is slated to be released early in 2010.
In the book, Hubert lashes out at Smith and accuses the then-hip hop superstar of sabotaging her and other talented actors who worked on the 30-minute NBC comedy.
In one excerpt from the tome, given to BV Buzz exclusively, Hubert writes: "Smith had people around him who made sure no one outshone him. I was happy to see Don Cheadle become the quality actor that he is, and often wondered how he made it past one episode, as Hilary's boyfriend, being such a fierce actor. No one could be on 'The Tonight Show,' that first season, except Will. And I mean no one."
In an effort to drive the point home, Hubert also recalled an incident where another actor was cut from a guest spot on the show after being too impressive at an early rehearsal for that episode.
Where Are They Now: 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'
On September 10, 1990, NBC premiered the sitcom 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,' starring rapper Will Smith as a street-smart teenager from West Philadelphia who is sent to live with his wealthy relatives in a Bel-Air mansion. As expected, his lifestyle often clashes with theirs -- which made for great television. For 148 episodes over six seasons, the show became a favorite to TV audiences, resulting in ratings success and increasing the superstardom of Smith.
Co-produced by legendary music producer Quincy Jones, 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' starred a colorful cast of TV newcomers, seasoned veterans and of course, its star Will Smith, who earlier became a squeaky clean hip-hop superstar with songs such as 'Summertime' and 'Parents Just Don't Understand.' BlackVoices.com invites you to take a walk down memory lane and bring you the latest updates on the show's stars. Come on in.
Will Smith: William 'Will' Smith
In the late 1980s Philadelphia native Will Smith began his career in the music industry by teaming up with his friend Jeff Townes to form the hip-hop group DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. A few years later, Smith landed a staring role in his very own TV sitcom, 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.' During the show's six year run he played William 'Will' Smith, who was a street-savvy adolescent from West Philadelphia.
Will Smith: Mr. July
Since the show ended in 1996, Smith has maintained a strong presence in Hollywood- now commanding a reported $20 million per film. In addition to marrying actress Jada-Pinkett Smith, he has starred in several blockbuster flicks such as, 'Bad Boys,' 'Independence Day,' 'The Pursuit of Happyness,' and 'I Am Legend.' On July 2, Smith will play the role of superhero John Hancock in his 16th feature film 'Hancock.'
Karyn Parsons: Hilary Banks
Playing the role of someone that lived in Bel-Air wasn't too much of a challenge for Hollywood-native Karyn Parsons. For six seasons she starred as Will's witty cousin Hilary Banks. Parsons' prim and proper portrayal of Hilary led to several similar roles in feature films such as 1992's 'Class Act' and 'Major Payne.'
Karyn Parsons: Married With Children
Since her 'Fresh' days in Bel-Air, Karyn Parsons has managed to star in the award-winning movie 'Mixing Nia,' and guest staring in TV sitcom '13 Moons.' In addition to guest-starring on the sitcom, she also met her future husband-13 Moons director Alexandre Rockwell. The two tied the knot on February 8, 2003 and now have a son and a daughter (Nico and Lana).
Tatyana Ali: Ashley Banks
Beginning a TV/music career at the tender age of five can only lead to a successful career at an early age. Tatyana Ali was first known to the public as Ashley Banks on the popular sitcom. Despite pursuing a career in acting, Ali still managed to incorporate her musical talents on some episodes. The multi-talented singer/actress showcased her skills by singing popular songs such as Aretha Franklin's 'Respect.'
Tatyana Ali: Triple Threat Talent
It was only a matter of time before the North Bellmore, Long Island native would pursue her childhood dream of being a singer. Her debut album 'Kiss The Sky,' which featured the singles 'Daydreamin' and 'Boy You Knock Me Out' with Will Smith, went gold in early 1999. Earlier this year she contributed to will.i.am's 'Yes We Can' song supporting Barack Obama's presidential campaign. Her recent acting credits include 'Glory Road,' 'Nora's Hair Salon' and 'The Young and the Restless.' The 'Fresh Prince' beauty is also featured as a hostess of BlackVoices' 'Weekly Wire' show.
James L. Avery: Philip Banks
Who would have thought the man behind the voice of Shredder on the animated series, 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' could also be Phillip Banks? Well that's all truth. In addition to being an attorney by day, the rotund actor was Will's uncle/guardian and mentor on the show. As "Uncle Phil," his character was ranked #34 in TV Guide's "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time."
James L. Avery: From Daddy to 'Caddy'
Avery has since served as the primary host of the PBS travel and adventure series 'Going Places.' In 2000, he guest starred as a legally-blind witness in an episode of the popular TV series 'CSI.' He has also made appearances on 'The Closer,' 'That's So Raven,' and the 2007 flick 'Who's Your Caddy?' In 2008, the Atlantic City, New Jersey native fronted (along with TV heart-throb Wesley Jonathan) the straight-to-DVD movie 'Divine Intervention.'
"I recall the lovely and incredibly talented Countess Vaughn coming to guest star. Oh my God! The day of table read, she was pee-in-your-pants funny. The writers were howling, we were howling, so I knew she was history – banished into the cornfield. Many years later, after she had her own show, I had to tell her when she asked me why. 'Miss Janet why did I get cut from the episode,' she asked? Simply, my darling, you were too good," she recollected.
Hubert also vividly details her termination from 'Fresh Prince of Bel Air,' something she claims to have never anticipated.
She writes: "My agent called; it was time. He had a very funny sound to his voice, not the usual wonderfully funny Michael that I knew. 'Jaaaannnet,' he said, 'I got the offer and you're not gonna like it. They offered you 10 episodes.' Now, to the layperson who doesn't know what this means, each show is an episode, and the usual amount is 22, with perhaps two extra. But the show was a hit so they would order 26, with each show taking a week to shoot. I remember swallowing very, very hard. [My son] Eli was only three and half months old. That meant a cut in salary of more than $100,000."
"We had a new house, a new baby, I had just opened a new exercise studio, signed a 3-year lease, and my ex wasn't working at the time. And they knew this," the excerpt continued. "'That's not all,' Michael said. 'They don't want you to work on any other shows. You can only do two guest starring roles.' What? Who? I stammered. I couldn't breathe. What do we do, Michael? What do we do? 'We pass,' Michael said. 'This is a dirty deal, and they know it.' OK, I trust you, I said. Michael had been my agent for more than 20 years. 'OK sweetie, I will call you back,' he said."
In the last of the passage, Hubert describes just how the news that she was being replaced was delivered, an ordeal she likens to a murder.
"My mind was going in a million places. OK, I thought, they will come back; this is how they do it. They always come back. I started into the kitchen where Rayna – my friend, housekeeper and nanny was. She was doing dishes as baby E was enjoying a swing. I knelt down, kissed his head, and waited for the next round of negotiations. They never came. The next time Michael called he said, 'They are going to recast your role.' There was a beautiful stained glass window that I designed in the bedroom, and the windows were open, so my neighbors probably heard me scream. And that beautiful window probably has many cracks in it. Time of Death: approximately 3 pm. The real Vivian Banks was murdered," the excerpt closed.
Since being replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel Air,' Hubert has had guest turns on 'Gilmore Girls,' 'One Life To Live,' 'Friends,' 'NYPD Blue' and 'The Jamie Foxx Show.'
"For over 20 years I have been dealing with untruths as to my departure. I have decided to defend myself now. If I am going to be a part of the witch hunt this time, the witch is going to fight back," Hubert told BV Buzz.
For more details on the actress and when the book hits stores, visit her online at www.janethubert.com.