‘Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air’ Actor Joseph Marcell Reveals What He Told Janet Hubert Before Her Exit: It’s Will Smith’s Show
“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” is easily a classic and for the first three of the show’s six seasons, the popular Aunt Viv character was played by character Janet Hubert. Actress Daphne Maxwell Reid replaced Janet Hubert for the final three seasons after Janet Hubert’s controversial departure.
Now, actor Joseph Marcell, who played Geoffrey on the iconic series, is sharing a conversation he had with Janet Hubert before she left.
He said while on Hip Hop Uncensored podcast:
“My relationship with Janet was very, very close. I respected her. I thought she was truly excellent at what she did.”
As for what caused Hubert to leave, he suggested she took issue with Will Smith being the star of the show.
“The show is called ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’, and the leading actor, the name that comes first is Will Smith. That’s how it is and that’s how it should be. I feel that perhaps Janet was not able to deal with that.”
He added that Hubert possibly wasn’t satisfied with her position on the show once it became a hit on NBC.
“Success corrupts. It eats at you. Success doesn’t bring contentment and satisfaction. It brings in most cases, in all of us…it brings out avarice. It brings out the question of how much is enough?”
At one point, Joseph Marcell said he had to play the mediator in intense disagreements between Hubert and Will Smith, especially when it came to whether Hubert would continue on the series.
“I was in London and I got a call. I got a call from Will, and I got a call from James Avery and I got a call from Janet. Will was asking me what do I think. Should Janet leave? Should he get rid of her? Should he support her? I said you have to do what you have to do and if you must speak to Janet, you must sit her down and the two of you iron out your differences and come to a point of reconciliation.”
“Janet called me and I said, ‘Janet, sweetheart, you have to look at it the way it’s set up. It’s Will’s show and he’s given you as best, I’m sure he could give you more, but you are the female lead of the show. You really are. Ask for more money, just don’t create a political impasse where in the end, you are the one who’s going to suffer.’ And those were the words I used. And that was it.”
Hubert left after they couldn’t come to an agreement, but Joseph Marcell said by the time she regretted it, it was too late for her to make a return. He said he also had a conversation with the late James Avery, who played the beloved Uncle Phil, and told him:
“I will do nothing to cut Janet’s legs from under her. I will say the truth but I will not put the knife in her. I will not go to whatever meetings or debriefs and say terrible things about her because that’s not how I operate. She’s a worker like me and I support her.”
What are your thoughts on Joseph Marcell’s remarks? Let us know in the comments.