Typecasting is absolutely a thing in Hollywood, and there are also challenges for actors who portray a certain, recognizable character in regard to breaking free of a specific role after it has comes to an end. Carlton Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is one such character, and Alfonso Ribeiro, the actor who played him through all six of the iconic series’ seasons, apparently had some post-Fresh Prince struggles. The actor had a hard time distancing himself from the Carlton persona he took on on-screen. But Ribeiro credits his time on Dancing With The Stars and the host at that time, Tom Bergeron, for helping him get back on track with his career.
Alfonso Ribeiro, who was essentially a household name in the ‘90s, recently opened up about what he want through following the end of the show's run. In an interview with Atlanta Black Star, Ribeiro talked about the frustrations of playing the character and how the role ultimately impacted his career. Here’s what the actor had to say about those early post-Fresh Prince of Bel-Air years:
When you do a role like Carlton and people love the role and you do the job so well that they essentially tell you that you can’t do it anymore because we can’t see you as anything else, is a very difficult thing to deal with. It was like, ‘Wait a minute, but I did it well. I did my job. I did what I was asked to do. I made you believe that that’s who I am.’ That’s what any actor is supposed to do.
While he did struggle for a long time after his stint with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Alfonso Ribeiro seems to be doing just fine now. Back in 2014, he appeared as one of the contestants on Dancing With The Stars and actually won Season 19 - it makes sense for someone with their own famous dance move! In the same interview, he discussed how important that experience was and how host Tom Bergeron played a role in getting things back on track for him:
And then I was punished for it. Because then I didn’t get to go do what my craft was. I didn’t get to do it anymore. So going through that, you learn what that feeling is like and how valuable it is to be able to do what you love to do. So, when Dancing with the Stars came around and I got an opportunity to do that. And then Tom Bergeron went to ABC and the producers and said, 'I think Alfonso should be the next host of America’s Funniest Home Videos,' I recognize how valuable that was.
It would seem that spending all that time on set of Dancing With The Stars made Tom Bergeron see some serious hosting potential in Alfonso Ribeiro, and he would definitely be one to know, seeing as he has hosted most of his career. Ribeiro has been seemingly stuck doing odd jobs after Fresh Prince, either appearing as himself, acting in smaller projects, and even trying his hand in directing some TV spots. It's also cool to hear that Bergeron actually actually recommended him for his current position as host of America’s Funniest Home Videos, a role that Bergeron held for almost 15 years.
One has to admit that many within the public will always see Alfonso Ribeiro as Carlton Banks, but there are plenty of others who have fallen in love with him for his recent endeavors. And it'll be exciting to see where Ribeiro could go next.