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The Character Everyone Forgets Don Cheadle Played In The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air

Don Cheadle is considered an acting legend in 2021, and it's not hard to see why. He captivated audiences with his performances in projects like "Hotel Rwanda" and "Crash," dominated the small screen as Marty Kaan on "House of Lies," and has portrayed James "War Machine" Rhodes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since 2010's "Iron Man 2." That's just a taste of his remarkable filmography that dates back to the mid-1980s — a time when he was far from a household name and still had a long way to go in becoming the icon we all recognize him as in the modern-day.

Cheadle's first credited acting gig came in a 1984 video short titled "3 Days." In the years that followed, he found his way to some rather minor television roles such as a gang leader on "Sidekicks" and Julian Tatoon on "L.A. Law." Though these parts didn't give him much to sink his teeth into, he still managed to impress the right people and prove himself as a rising star. Come 1987, he'd appear in the war drama "Hamburger Hill" as Pvt. Johnny Washburn, which turned out to be his breakout performance in Hollywood. Nevertheless, Cheadle would continue to occupy TVs across the globe for some time after.

By the time 1990 rolled around, Don Cheadle would even make a cameo appearance on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." Here's the episode that you likely forgot he popped up in and the character he played.

Don Cheadle played Ice Tray for one episode

"The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" ran for four seasons and a total of 148 episodes, and in that time, it consistently fired on all cylinders. Not only did the likes of Will Smith and the late James Avery bring their comedic A-game every time they appeared on screen, but the show consistently offered up thought-provoking commentary on important social topics that most other shows of the time didn't. Not to mention "Fresh Prince" never shied away from bringing in guest stars to spice things up, including Don Cheadle, who played Ice Tray in the Season 1 episode "Homeboy, Sweet Homeboy."

The main thrust of the episode is that Will is suffering from a severe bout of homesickness and misses his old life in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He misses his friends, specifically Ice Tray, who Aunt Viv (Janet Hubert) brings into town to cheer Will up. While this works just fine at first, Ice Tray soon becomes smitten with Hilary (Karyn Parsons), and they start dating — much to the chagrin of Aunt Viv and Uncle Phil (Avery). They vocally disapprove of his carefree, undisciplined demeanor, but Will sticks up for his friend and attests that he's actually a responsible, selfless guy. This information alerts them to the error of their ways before Ice Tray departs for Philly.

In the grand scheme of the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" legacy, Ice Tray didn't make a huge impact during his one and only appearance. Still, seeing a younger Don Cheadle put his character acting skills to good use is always a treat.