The man who brought The Carlton Dance to America’s living room in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” went on to win it all on “Dancing With the Stars,” and who now is the host of the popular Sunday evening show, “America’s Funniest Home Videos” — Alfonso Ribeiro — will be the celebrity grand marshal of the First Ever 14th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Hot Springs March 17, 2017.
Ribeiro, who has excelled as an actor, TV director, award-winning dancer and Broadway star, has spent more than 30 years leaving his unique mark on the worlds of television, theater and beyond.
“Alfonso will bring a new level of energy and playfulness to our wacky little parade,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, the city’s convention and visitors bureau and sponsor of the now-world-famous celebration.
Playing the character of cousin Carlton Banks opposite Will Smith in the 1990s smash hit, Ribeiro’s impromptu goofy dance to the Tom Jones hit, “It’s Not Unusual,” became a nationwide sensation.
Ribeiro began his career as a child actor, most notably on Broadway, playing the lead role in the Tony-winning musical “The Tap Dance Kid.” As news of Ribeiro’s dancing and singing skills spread, he was offered a recording contract with Island Records, for whom he released several dance/pop singles, as well as a spot in Michael Jackson’s 1984 Pepsi commercial.
Ribeiro was then cast opposite Ricky Schroder in the long-running NBC sitcom, “Silver Spoons,” making him an instant teen idol. After earning a theater arts education from Cal State University, Los Angeles, he was given the opportunity to choose a role on the established sitcom, “A Different World,” or a new pilot called “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Showing an adventurous streak, he chose the latter and created the memorable character of Carlton Banks opposite another teen idol, Will Smith, for six seasons.
Having grown up in front of the camera, Ribeiro knew that opportunities existed behind the scenes, too. His impressive resume as a TV director includes popular programs like “In The House,” “Shake It Up,” “Are We There Yet?,” “The Wannabes,” “Meet The Browns,” “Cuts,” “Eve,” “One on One” and “All of Us.”
Ribeiro continued to make good use of his dancing skills in 2014, when he won the 19th season of “Dancing With the Stars.” After finishing in first place, he hosted the countrywide “Dancing With the Stars” tour and is currently the host of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”
He enjoys noncompetitive race car driving, playing competitive golf and spending time with his wife and three children.
In the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, he will join flamboyant wrestler Ric Flair, who is the parade’s official starter.
The annual parade, whose route is only 98 feet long — the length of world-famous Bridge Street — annually draws upward of 30,000 people into the Hot Springs historic downtown district for an evening of zany fun.