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Dancing with the Stars: Who is Alfonso Ribeiro?

The actor is best known for his role on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

alfonso ribeiro
Francesca Shillcock
Senior Features Writer
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Strictly Come Dancing viewers were left stunned back in 2019 when extra special guest Alfonso Ribeiro stepped in for beloved presenter Bruno Tonioli

At the time, Bruno took to Twitter to bid farewell to his followers and Strictly viewers as he temporarily took a break from judging on the Strictly panel.

Alfonso is no stranger to the show after appearing as a guest judge in 2018. But who is the American actor? Here's all you need to know about the star who is set to make a triumphant return to Dancing with the Stars...

Alfonso Ribeiro smiling in pink shirt © Getty
Alfonso Ribeiro stood in for Bruno Tonioli on Strictly

Who is Alfonso?

Alfonso Ribeiro is an American actor, singer and television personality. Born in 1971 in New York, he has been in the showbiz world since the age of eight, when he was cast as the lead in Broadway show called The Tap Dance Kid in 1983. 

The following year, Alfonso was cast as one the Pepsi generation kids in an advert for one of their world-renowned television commercials, appearing alongside Michael Jackson. After gaining recognition for his dancing skills in both these projects, he went on to appear in more MTV commercials, showing off his best moves. And dancing wasn't his only talent. Alfonso went on to gain recognition for acting and singing throughout his career.

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Nowadays, the 51-year-old lives in LA with his wife, Angela – whom he married in 2012. The couple share two sons, Alfonso Lincoln Ribeiro Jr, and Anders Reyn Ribeiro, as well as daughter Ava Sue, who was born in May earlier this year. Alfonso also has another daughter, Sienna Ribeiro, 20, from his previous marriage to Robin Stapler.

What is Alfonso best known for?

If you recognise Alfonso, the chances are you know him from 90s cult TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in which he starred as Carlton Banks alongside Hollywood A-lister Will Smith. Carlton was in the show for the whole of its run from 1990 until 1996 playing Will Smith's preppy younger cousin. 

Alfonso's character Carlton was best known for his trademark 'Carlton' dance to Tom Jones' hit It's Not Unusual, something he's still adored for today. And it wasn't just 'The Carlton' that he was hailed for, Alfonso and Will took on a routine during the hit show to 'Jump On It' by hip-hop trio The Sugarhill Gang.

The pair even performed it during an appearance on the Graham Norton Show in 2013. With Mike Bushell and Katya Jones performing their samba to this song this weekend, will we see Alfonso showing off his moves? We hope so!

Alfonso and Will Smith during their Fresh Prince days© NBC/Getty
Alfonso and Will Smith during their Fresh Prince days

Alfonso and Will Smith have remained close friends since their Fresh Prince days, as the two were pictured at the LA premiere for Disney's Aladdin in 2019, in which Will plays the Genie. Alfonso posted an image of the pair on his Instagram at the time, captioning the picture: "Great time last night supporting my big brother @willsmith at the premiere of #Aladdin with my son AJ."

will smith with alfonso ribeiro © Getty
The pair have remained close friends

What else has he done?

As well as starring as Carlton Banks for six years, Alfonso has does plenty of other acting and TV work. In the 90s, Alfonso also starred in another TV show called In The House, and, prior to his Fresh Prince days, appeared in another TV series called Silver Spoons. But it's not just in the US that Alfonso has made a name for himself, he's also proven to be very popular this side of the pond in recent years. In 2013, Alfonso headed into the jungle to take part in I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! finishing in seventh place.

Alfonso dancing with witney carson© Getty
Alfonso won series 19 of Dancing with the Stars

In 2014, Alfonso headed back state-side to compete in series 19 of Dancing with the Stars. He proved a hit with the judges, and became to fourth contestant in the show's history to receive a score of 9 from each judge in the first week. 

He also proved popular with viewers and went on to become the series winner alongside his professional partner Witney Carson. Now, Alfonso is set to step into the limelight once again as a co-host on the latest series of Dancing with the Stars alongside Julianne Hough. 

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