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Alfonso Ribeiro Biography

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Birth Name: Alfonso Ribeiro
Born: 09/21/1971
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA

Born Sept. 21, 1971 in New York City, Alfonso Lincoln Ribeiro possessed immense talent as a dancer and actor from a very young age, bringing to life the title role in the 1983 Broadway musical "The Tap Dance Kid." Building on his momentum, he starred in one of Michael Jackson's Pepsi commercials, after Jackson has spotted him in the hit play. The commercial, in which Ribeiro, donning the red leather "Beat it Jacket," moonwalks into his idol on a city street, sparked an urban legend about his supposed on-set death due to his eye-popping breakdancing moves. After a few screen appearances, he succeeded Jason Bateman as the designated sidekick of poor little rich boy Ricky Schroder for the last few years of the long-running sitcom "Silver Spoons" (NBC, 1982-86; syndicated, 1986-87), for which he earned three Young Artist Award nominations. Ribeiro also appeared in several specials and TV-movies throughout the 1980s, including multiple installments of the annual "Circus of the Stars" (CBS, 1977-1994) extravaganzas.

Ribeiro achieved his greatest fame, however, as the ultra-preppy and über-geeky Carlton Banks, the uptight foil/protégé to Will Smith's super cool L.A. transplant "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" (NBC, 1990-96). Shining as both a straight man and comic buffoon, Ribeiro won a Best Supporting Actor Image Award and delighted audiences with his exuberant performance, turning his gleefully dorky "Carlton Dance" into a beloved pop cultural memory for a certain generation. It was on the series that the actor earned his first directorial credit for an episode, which quickly became a supplement to his acting career. After "Fresh Prince" ended, Ribeiro followed in the footsteps of his onscreen father James Avery to lend his voice to "Spider-Man" (Fox Kids, 1994-98) and "Extreme Ghostbusters" (Fox Kids, 1997-99).

He had guested on LL Cool J's sitcom "In the House" (NBC, 1995-96; UPN, 1996-99) as Carlton Banks, but won a second Best Supporting Actor Award for his recurring role as Dr. Maxwell Stanton and helmed multiple episodes of the series. Although Ribeiro continued to act, usually in lower-profile projects including the Amanda Bynes vehicle "Love Wrecked" (ABC Family, 2005), his focus increasingly turned toward directing, and he became a longtime lenser on such series as "One on One" (UPN, 2001-06), "All of Us" (UPN, 2003-06; The CW, 2006-07), "Meet the Browns" (TBS, 2009-2011) and "Are We There Yet?" (TBS, 2010- ). Reality shows and hosting duties also provided employment, with the always-charming Ribeiro winning "Celebrity Duets" (Fox, 2006) and hosting "GSN Live" (GSN, 2008-2011) as well as "Catch 21" (GSN, 2008- ).

By Jonathan Riggs