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Janet Louise Hubert
January 13, 1956
Janet Louise Hubert (born January 13, 1956) is an American film and television actress. She is best known for playing the role of the original Vivian Banks on the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air from its first season in 1990 until the end of its third season in 1993. Hubert was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in 1991. Her performance as Mignon on the digital series King Ester garnered her first Daytime Emmy Award nomination in 2020.
Hubert was born in Chicago, Illinois and spent her early days growing up on Chicago's South Side. At the age of nine she moved with her family to rural Chicago. She won a scholarship to the Juilliard School in New York City, but did not complete her studies.
Hubert was married to James Whitten from 1990 to 1994; they had a son, Elijah Isaac Whitten. She has been married to Larry Kraft since 2005. She suffers from osteoporosis and is the ambassador of the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
After performing in the national tour of Dancin', Hubert made her Broadway debut in 1981, in the ensemble of The First, a short-lived musical about Jackie Robinson. Hubert created the role of Tantomile in the original Broadway production of Cats, and also understudied Grizabella and Demeter. She left Cats in April of 1983 to star in the national tour of Sophisticated Ladies, opposite Dee Dee Bridgewater and Gregg Burge. Hubert played Aunt Viv on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the role she is most known for. After she was allegedly fired by the makers of The Fresh Prince, Hubert's character was recast and played by Daphne Maxwell Reid for the remainder of the show's run. According to Will Smith, the show's star, he and Hubert had difficulties working together long before her pregnancy.
She was featured in a 2002 episode of Friends as Chandler's boss. In 2005, she began playing the recurring role of Lisa Williamson, mother of attorney Evangeline Williamson, on One Life to Live. Her character has made occasional appearances since then. She was featured as Michel Gerard's mother in an episode of the CW show Gilmore Girls. She has made appearances on episodes of All My Children, NYPD Blue, The Bernie Mac Show, and Tyler Perry's House of Payne, among others. In November 2018, it was announced that Hubert had been cast on the daytime soap opera, General Hospital; she made her debut as Yvonne on December 7, 2018. She also appeared in the Fresh Prince Reunion which aired on HBO Max in November 2020 and around this time appeared in a joint radio interview with Smith where the two appeared to reconcile. More information and context were offered regarding the situation between Smith and Hubert and her exit when the two met for their conversation. Hubert discussed the turmoil in her personal life, her abusive marriage, and that she had not actually been fired by the show. She was offered what she described as a "bad deal" to return for the fourth season and she turned it down. Will talked about how his youth and learning to deal with his rapidly increasing fame lead him to make decisions during that time that he now regrets and wishes he had made differently.
|1988||21 Jump Street||Councilwoman Travers||Episode: "Fun with Animals"|
|1989||A Man Called Hawk||Serita||Episode: "Poison"|
|1990||Tales from the Crypt||Psyche||Episode: "Till Death"|
|1992||Reasonable Doubts||Judge Mary Sims||Episode: "Brother's Keeper"|
|1990–1993||The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air||Vivian Banks||73 episodes|
|1994||Dave's World||Episode: "Shel in Love"|
|1995||White Man's Burden||Dinner Guest|
|1996||The Faculty||Annette Freeman||Episode: "Somewhere There's Music"|
|1997||The Jamie Foxx Show||Edwina DuBois||Episode: "Act Like You Love Me"|
|Goode Behavior||Dr. Pamela Fordham||Episode: "Goode Lovin'"|
|1998||NYPD Blue||Hiruut Kebede||Episode: "Weaver of Hate"|
|1999||All My Children||Alice Dawson||Selected episodes|
|2001||30 Years to Life||Joy's mother|
|2001–2002||The Job||Adina Phillips||4 episodes|
|2002||The Weakest Link||Herself||4th one voted off|
|Gilmore Girls||Gisele Gerard||Episode: "Back in the Saddle Again"|
|Friends||Ms. McKenna||Episode: "The One Where Emma Cries"|
|2003–2004||The Bernie Mac Show||Leora||2 episodes: "Meet the Grandparents" and "Make Room for Caddy"|
|Christmas at Water's Edge||Mrs. Turner||TV film|
|2005, 2007 & 2010||One Life to Live||Lisa Williamson||9 episodes|
|2011||Tyler Perry's House of Payne||Evelyn||Episode: "A Mother's Payne"|
|2015||Life Twirls On||Aunt Lorraine||TV series|
|2016||No Letting Go||Dr. Stacey Slater||Film|
|Ward of the State||Diana Ward||Film|
|Not Another Black Movie||Aunt Gloria||Film|
|2017||Marcus Garvey Biopic||Sarah Jane Richards||Film|
|2018–present||General Hospital||Yvonne Godfrey|
|2019–present||King Ester||Mignon Pappion|
|2013||Grand Theft Auto V||Denise Clinton|
|2014||Grand Theft Auto V||Behind the Voice Actors Award||Best Vocal Ensemble in a Video Game||Nominated|
|2020||King Ester||Daytime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Digital Drama Series|
- "Janet Hubert Biography". Biography. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
- Tango: Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Awards and Nominations
- Hipes, Patrick. "Daytime Emmy Nominations: 'General Hospital', 'Sesame Street', 'The View' Top List; CBS, Amazon Prime Lead Networks". Deadline. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
- McCann, Bob (2010). Encyclopedia of African American Actresses in Film and Television. McFarland & Company. p. 170. ISBN 9780786437900.
- "Dancin' – Broadway Musical – 1980-1983 Tour | IBDB". www.ibdb.com. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
- The Broadway League. "The First – Broadway Musical – Original | IBDB". www.ibdb.com. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
- "Cats". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2012-11-12.
- "Sophisticated Ladies – Broadway Musical – 1983-1983 Tour | IBDB". www.ibdb.com. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
- "Smith, Whitten Feud Over Her 'Fresh Prince' Exit", Jet, Johnson Publishing Company, p. 59, 30 August 1993, ISSN 0021-5996
- Rice, Lynette (November 18, 2018). "General Hospital casts Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actress Janet Hubert". Entertainment Weekly. United States: Time Inc. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
- SOD (November 18, 2018). "GH Taps Fresh Prince Alum". Soap Opera Digest. United States: American Media, Inc. Odyssey Magazine Publishing Group Inc. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
- Variety.com, 18 November 2020 https://variety.com/2020/tv/news/the-fresh-prince-of-bel-air-reunion-janet-hubert-exit-bts-secrets-1234834223 Missing or empty
- Janet Hubert on IMDb
- "Smith, Whitten feud over her 'Fresh Prince' exit". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. 1993-08-30.
- "Ex-Aunt Vivian Has Her Own Studio and a Little Fresh Prince". The Los Angeles Times. 1993-08-23.
- "Whitten Riled By Recent Firing From NBC-TVs 'Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air'". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. 1993-08-09.
- "'Bel-Air's' Smith sued". Variety. 1993-12-15.