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Ribeiro, Alfonso 1971–

Alfonso Ribeiro 1971


Adolescent Talent

Sitcom Fame

Giving Back to the Future


The hot-spotlight life of an actor began at the early age of eight for Alfonso Ribeiro when he landed a part in the PBS series, Oye Willie. With a few lulls between projects, he has been on the stage, on television, or in the recording studio continuously ever since, gaining nationwide fame playing the character of Carlton Banks on the hit sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. While other child actors have been derailed into drugs or outlandish behavior by the temptations that wealth gained too soon can bring, Ribeiro has managed to stay on-track.

Adolescent Talent

Alfonso Ribeiro was born in New York City on September 21, 1971, to Michael and Joy Ribeiro. After Oye Willie, Ribeiro was selected by his junior high school to audition for The Tap Dance Kid, an upcoming Broadway musical, in response to a request from the shows casting agency. Ribeiro was tapped to play one of the leading rolesa child who aspires to be a dancereven though he had never had any formal acting or dance training. In preparation for the role, he trained for one year with professional choreographers, and when the show opened, Ribeiro found his free time eaten away by performances and schoolwork, a schedule that quickly became a routine for the talented boy. Ribeiro remarked on his childhood in an Upscale interview, saying, I missed out on a lot of things like going to high school football games or hanging out with other kids. Its a Catch 22. Ive been very fortunate in the things Ive had in my life. But, at the same time, I wish I had the same types of memories as everyone else.

But with the hard work and sacrifice came success. The show went on to win a Tony Award and Ribeiro was singled out as a dancing dynamo, earning a nomination for an Outer Critics Circle Award for his passionate performance. One Newsweek reviewer wrote of Ribeiro that he looks like a miniature Michael Jackson and dances like an urban whirlwind, not only tapping but disassembling his bone structure in that joyous human puppetry of the streets known as breakdancing. His performance drew the attention of Michael Jackson himself when the singer made a rare public appearance to see the young talent. Ribeiro recalled in an Upscale

At a Glance

Born in New York City, September 21, 1971; son of Michael and Joy Ribeiro. Education: Attended University of California and Valley Professional School in Los Angeles.

Career: Actor, dancer, singer. Lead role in The Tap Dance Kid on Broadway, 1983-84. Television series: Silver Spoons, 1984-87; The Fresh Prince of Bet-Air, 1990-96; In The House, 1997-. Television appearances: Oye Willie; Mr, Fosters Field Trip; Mighty Pawns (PBS); Magnum, P./. (CBS, 1984); Circus of the Stars; The Andy Williams Christmas Special; Star Cruise. Recordings: Dance Baby; Time Bomb; Not Too Young (To Fall in Love); Sneak Away with Me (Prism).

Awards/honors: Hollywood Press Clubs Rising Star Award, 1985; NAACPI mage Award for Best Supporting Actor, 1996.

Organizations: Say No to Drugs; Hands Across America.

Addresses: c/o United Paramount Network, 11800 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025.

interview, That was the most amazing thing Michael Jackson was my idol. I loved him to death. I could dance like him. I could sing like him, and it was great career-wise.

Jackson found the imitation flattering and invited the boy to Los Angeles, where Ribeiro had lunch at Jacksons compound and played video games with the superstar. The friendship led to a professional relationship as Ribeiro joined Jackson in a Pepsi commercial that featured the two of them dancing. Alongside of his acting career, Ribeiro also signed a contract with Prism Records and, between the ages of ten and 13 released several singles, including Dance Baby, Not Too Young (To Fall in Love), Time Bomb, and Sneak Away with Me.

In 1984, Alfonso Ribeiro made his first break into sitcoms when he became a regular cast member on the hit show, Silver Spoons, starring Ricky Schroeder. For three years, he played the character Alonso Spears on the show. He also logged acting credits with appearances on Magnum, P.L, Circus of the Stars, The Andy Williams Christmas Special, and Star Cruise.

Sitcom Fame

In 1990, Ribeiro began playing the role that would earn him nationwide recognition-that of Carlton Banks on the NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The shows star, character Will Smith (played by the actor of the same name) was a poor Philadelphia youth living with an affluent aunt and uncle in California. Ribeiro played the spoiled, preppy cousin of Will Smith, and the comic duo were largely responsible for the success of the show. Fresh Prince ran for six years and consistently boasted the highest ratings for a prime-time comedy series among teenage viewers, regularly breaking into the top 20 for overall ratings. For his role as Carlton, Ribeiro earned an NAACP Image Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 1996.

Ribeiro now plays Dr. Maxwell Stanton, a sports-injury doctor, on the UPN sitcom, In The House. The series, taped before a studio audience in Hollywood, California, is produced by Quincy Jones and David Salsman Entertainment in association with UPN Studios. Ribeiro has not neglected his singing career, however, and actually said in an Internet interview that singing is his real love. He is currently working on an album, which is being produced by Grammy Award-winner Will Smith.

Giving Back to the Future

In addition to acting and singing Ribeiro is involved with the Say No to Drugs and the Hands Across America programs. His off-camera passions include motorcycles and car racing, and hes won the Toyota Grand Prix on two occasions. But behind all the glamor of the actors life, Ribeiro affirmed in an Internet interview, If you want to be an actor, you have to do it because you love acting, not because you want to be a celebrity. After 19 years in show business, Ribeiro knows whereof he speaks.


Ebony, Jan 1996, p. 68.

Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Vol. IV., Gale Research, Detroit, 1987.

Entertainment Weekly, April 17, 1992, p. 44.

Jet, Jan 13, 1997, p. 38; April 29, 1996, p. 58.

People Weekly, July 16, 1984, p. 121.

Upscale, Sept/Oct 1997, p. 48.

Marilyn Williams and Rebecca Parks

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"Ribeiro, Alfonso 1971–." Contemporary Black Biography. . 14 Dec. 2017 <>.

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Ribeiro, Alfonso 1971(?)–

RIBEIRO, Alfonso 1971(?)–


Born September 21, 1971 (some sources cite 1968), in New York, NY; son of Michael (a manager) and Joy Ribeiro; married Robin, January, 2002; children: Sienna. Education: Attended California State University, Los Angeles. Avocational Interests: Motorcycles, car racing.


Actor, dancer, singer, and director. Ribeiro Productions, principal. Appeared in a Michael Jackson Pepsi commercial, 1983, and in commercials for McDonald's restaurants, 2003. Supporter of public service campaigns such as Say No to Drugs and Hands across America.

Awards, Honors:

Rising Star Award, Hollywood Press Club, 1985; Young Artist Award nominations, Young Artist Foundation, best young actor in a television comedy series, 1985, best young actor starring in a television series, 1986, and exceptional performance by a young actor starring in a television comedy or drama series, 1987, all for Silver Spoons; Image Award, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series, and Bravo Award nomination, National Council of La Raza, outstanding television series actor in a crossover role, both 1996, for The Fresh Prince of Bel–Air; Image Award, outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series, 1998, and Image Award nomination, outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series, 1999, both for In the House; Outer Critics Circle Award for The Tap Dance Kid; Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for Golden Boy.


Television Appearances; Series:

Oye Willow (some sources cite title as Oye Ollie or Oye Willie), PBS, beginning c. 1979.

Alfonso Spears, Silver Spoons, NBC, 1984–87.

Carlton Banks, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, NBC, 1990–96.

Dr. Maxwell Stanton, In the House, UPN, 1996–99.

Voice of Roland Jackson, Extreme Ghostbusters (animated), syndicated, 1997.

Host, Your Big Break, syndicated, 2000.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Himself, I Love the '80s, VH1, 2002.

Himself, I Love the '90s, VH1, 2004.

Himself, I Love the '90s: Part Deux, VH1, 2005.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Jesse, Out on the Edge (also known as Committed), CBS, 1989.

Morgan, Kidz in the Wood, NBC, 1996.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Andy Williams and the NBC Kids Search for Santa, NBC, 1985.

Night of 100 Stars II (also known as Night of One Hundred Stars), ABC, 1985.

10th Annual Circus of the Stars, CBS, 1985.

Rocky, John Grin's "Christmas" (also known as Christmas), ABC, 1986.

11th Annual Circus of the Stars, CBS, 1986.

NBC 60th Anniversary Celebration, NBC, 1986.

The Wildest Wild West Show of the Stars, CBS, 1986.

Happy Birthday, Hollywood!, ABC, 1987.

Buddy, "Home Sweet Homeless," CBS Schoolbreak Specials, CBS, 1988.

Danny, "A Matter of Conscience," CBS Schoolbreak Specials, CBS, 1989.

The All New Circus of the Stars and Side Show, CBS, 1991.

Celebrate the Soul of American Music, syndicated, 1991.

Super Bloopers and New Practical Jokes, NBC, 1991.

The All New Circus of the Stars and Side Show XVII, CBS, 1992.

Star–athon '92: A Weekend with the Stars, syndicated, 1992.

Circus of the Stars Gives Kids the World, CBS, 1993.

A Sea World/Busch Gardens Summer Celebration, CBS, 1993.

Circus of the Stars Goes to Disneyland, CBS, 1994.

1995 NBA All–Star Stay in School Celebration, NBC, 1995.

TV's Funniest Families 2: The Kids, NBC, 1995.

It's Hot in Here: UPN Fall Preview, UPN, 1996.

Snowfest 2000, PAX TV, 2000.

Classic TV Bloopers, ABC, 2001.

Also appeared in NBC Fall Preview Special, NBC; and Variety Telethon, KHQ–TV.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

The Golden Globe Awards, 1985.

The 40th Annual Tony Awards, CBS, 1986.

The Fourth Annual Desi Awards, syndicated, 1992.

The Second Annual Family Television Awards, CBS, 2000.

Presenter, The 28th Annual American Music Awards, ABC, 2001.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Kenny, "L.A.: Parts 1 & 2," Magnum, P.I., CBS, 1986.

Kenny, "Missing Melody," Magnum, P.I., CBS, 1986.

Frank Robinson, "Mighty Pawns," WonderWorks, PBS, 1987.

Zach Duncan, "Hillman Isn't Through with You Yet," A Different World, NBC, 1990.

"Food Web," Bill Nye, the Science Guy, PBS and syndicated, 1994.

Guest, Soul Train, syndicated, 1994.

Carlton Banks, In the House, UPN, 1995.

Voices of Randy Robertson and young Joseph "Robbie" Robertson, "Sins of the Fathers Chapter 9: Tombstone," Spider–Man (animated), Fox, 1996.

Voice of Randy Robertson, "Partners in Danger Chapter 1: Guilty," Spider–Man (animated), Fox, 1997.

Guest, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, 1998.

Himself, "The Last Temptation of Val," V.I.P. (also known as V.I.P.—Die Bodyguards), syndicated, 1999.

Candy bar teacher, "You Go Girl," The Brothers Garcia, Nickelodeon, 2001.

Himself, "Thrill of Victory, Agony of da Feet," Rendez–View, Spike TV, 2001.

Himself, "TV Child Stars Edition," Weakest Link, NBC, 2001.

Dwayne, "Divided He Falls/Rerun Gets Married" (also known as "What's Happening!! Rerun Gets Married/Bewitched: Divided He Falls"), The Rerun Show, NBC, 2002.

Lenny, "Me and My Shadow," One on One, UPN, 2002.

Guest, Cedric the Entertainer Presents, Fox, 2003.

Provided the voice of Kephra, "King Midas and the Golden Touch," Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child (animated), HBO; appeared in Good Morning America (also known as GMA), ABC; How I'm Living, Black Entertainment Television; Live at Five, WNBC; Merv Griffin Show, NBC, syndicated, and CBS; The Phil Donahue Show, syndicated; Puttin' on the Kids; Star Cruise; The Star's Table; and The Test, FX Channel. Appeared as as Ray in "The Professionals," an unaired episode of For Your Love (also known as You Send Me).

Television Director; Episodic:

"I, Ooh, Baby, Baby," The Fresh Prince of Bel–Air, NBC, 1995.

"The Retreat Story," In the House, UPN, 1997.

"Tiffany's School Daze," In the House, UPN, 1997.

"Mr. Hill Goes to New York," In the House, UPN, 1998.

"Working Overtime," In the House, UPN, 1998.

"Home for Christmas?," All of Us, UPN, 2004.

One on One, UPN, 2005.

Film Appearances:

Darrel "Panic" Lumley, Ticks (also known as Infested), 1994.

Dr. Grone, Seek & Hide, Bacon & Eggs, 2004.

Brent Hernandez, Lovewrecked, Media 8 Entertainment, 2005.

Stage Appearances:

Willie (title role), The Tap Dance Kid (musical), Broadhurst Theatre, New York City, 1983–84, then Minskoff Theatre, New York City, 1984–85.

Night of 100 Stars II (also known as Night of One Hundred Stars), Radio City Music Hall, New York City, 1985.

Title role, Golden Boy (musical), New York City Center Encores!, New York City, beginning 2002.



Recorded the singles "Dance Baby," "Not Too Young (to Fall in Love)," "Sneak Away with Me," and "Time Bomb," all Prism.

Music Videos:

Will Smith, "Wild Wild West," 1999.



Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 17, Gale, 1998.


People Weekly, June 26, 2000, p. 88.

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"Ribeiro, Alfonso 1971(?)–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . 14 Dec. 2017 <>.

"Ribeiro, Alfonso 1971(?)–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . (December 14, 2017).

"Ribeiro, Alfonso 1971(?)–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from