‘The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air’: Why Daphne Maxwell Reid Originally Passed On The Role Of Aunt Viv

Daphne Maxwell Reid is setting the record straight about why she took on the role of Aunt Viv after Janet Hubert.

According to the Atlanta Black Star, Maxwell Reid said that she was originally approached to play the popular Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star before Hubert, but passed.

“I remember back in 1989 when we first decided to leave California, I was asked to audition for a little television sitcom with a rapper. And I said, ‘I’m really not interested in doing a sitcom with a rapper who’s not an actor.’ And it turned out to be The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and when I saw it on the air that fall, I said, ‘Oh, this is a cute show. I guess I missed that opportunity.’”

When the show was ready to recast the character, Maxwell Reid said she “got there as fast as I could.”
“I had to audition against 200…300 other women that they found all of the country. And had the…blessedness to meet James Avery and strike a chemical chord with him. I just adore the man and I guess our chemistry worked because I got the job,” she said, adding that his and her families developed a close relationship.

She also said that she viewed her role as business, not as anything against Hubert who originated the role.
“I did not feel anything about ‘replacing’ the original Aunt Viv. All actors are ‘replaceable’ according to the choices of the creators and producers of the project,” she said. “I was delighted to have a job on such a wonderful show. I had to earn my spot, and I was thrilled when it came to be.”

“When we all reunited last fall, I was grateful to finally meet Janet,” Maxwell Reid continued. “She belonged in our reunion as much as I did, and I was happy that whatever transpired before I was hired, of which I had no knowledge, had been dealt with, and life moved on.”

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