'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' Legend Samm-Art Williams Has Died

The 'Fresh Prince' executive producer died on Monday in North Carolina at 78.

Fresh Prince of Bel-Air executive producer Samm-Art Williams has died at 78. The Tony-nominated playwright passed away on Monday in North Carolina, his cousin Carol Brown confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. "Mr. Williams' contributions to American theater and television will live on, but he will be greatly missed," Brown said in a statement. Williams was best known as the playwright of Home in 1979. It was initially produced by the Negro Ensemble Company, a New York-based theater company and workshop before moving to Broadway the following year. The show will be returning to Broadway on June 5.

Home was nominated for a Tony for Best Play and also received an Outer Critics Circle Award, a Drama Desk nomination, an NAACP Image Award, and a North Carolina Governor's Award. Other plays Williams wrote include Welcome to Black River, The Coming and Do Unto Others, A Love Play, The Last Caravan, and Brass Birds Don't Sing, among others. He not only dominated theater, but he also made it big on screen.

Samm-Art Williams wrote episodes of The Good News, Martin, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Frank's Place, Cagney & Lacey, and American Playhouse, and he served as executive producer on The Good News, Martin, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, and Fresh Prince, as well as co-producer on Frank's Place. As if that wasn't enough, he's also appeared in Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, Fresh Prince, Equal Justice, Frank's Place, Miami Vice, Cook & Peary: The Race to the Role, Dressed to Kill, The Wanderers, and Summerdog.

Born in Philadelphia on Jan. 20, 1946, Williams studied political science and psychology at Morgan State University in Baltimore. According to the North Carolina Writers' Network, he studied with the Freedom Theater's Acting Workshop in Philadelphia after college, later moving to New York to become a member of the Negro Ensemble Company, performing in plays such as The First Breeze of Summer and Eden.

Throughout his career, Samm-Art Williams received the Guggenheim Fellowship, The National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Playwrighting, was nominated for two Emmys, and was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 2010. He was not married and didn't have any kids, but Williams is survived by five cousins. The entertainment industry will undoubtedly be mourning this giant loss, as it's going to be felt for both TV and theater.