Why Alfonso Ribeiro Turned Down A Role In 'A Different World' To Join Cast Of 'The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air'
Photo Credit: John Lamparski

Why Alfonso Ribeiro Turned Down A Role In 'A Different World' To Join Cast Of 'The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air'

Alfonso Ribeiro is known to many for his portrayal of Carlton Banks in the classic ’90s sitcom The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. However, history might have been different altogether.

In an interview on The Tamron Hall Show in November 2020, Ribeiro revealed how he was almost part of another NBC series during the ’90s: A Different World.

“I kind of walked away from the business for a little bit. When I came back, I had an opportunity to do two shows and one was called A Different World, which was the spin-off with Lisa Bonet and Kadeem Hardison, and then I got the opportunity to do this pilot or presentation for a buddy of mine, Will, called The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” Ribeiro said. “I had to actually make a choice as to which one I wanted to do because if I had chosen A Different World, it’d been a whole different story, right?”

Ribeiro revealed how a get-together with Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff was instrumental in his decision to turn down a role in A Different World to join the cast of The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air.

“I picked the role of Carlton because I had hung out with Will and Jeff. We went to Disneyland and Endless Summer Jam. And having spent time with them, I felt there was some sort of magic there, there was something special about them. Whether he could act or whether he could deliver being an actor, nobody knew. But I felt like, ‘Wow, this is something that if it works out is going to blow up and be special.’ I had to make the choice. One was already on the air for several seasons. This was a presentation that wasn’t even maybe not even a real pilot, but something in my gut said that Will was going to be special.”

And to think we may have never gotten Ribiero’s famous Carlton dance!

Watch Ribeiro’s interview with Tamron Hall below.

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