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12/04/2014 04:46 pm ET Updated Dec 04, 2014

Ben Vereen Reflects On His Heartbreaking 'Fresh Prince' Scene With Will Smith

The scene is iconic, ingrained in the brains of all who grew up watching "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air": a young Will Smith, eager to jet off on a trip with his biological father, only to be let down when his dad skips out on him once again. Will turns cold at the rejection, calling his dad only "Lou," then later rants to Uncle Phil about life without his dad.

It ends with Will collapsing into Uncle Phil's arms, asking the simple yet heartbreaking question: "How come he don't want me, man?"

Ben Vereen, who played Will's deadbeat dad, reflected on the memorable moment of television Thursday in a HuffPost Live interview, saying the call to play the role came at a special time.

"I had an accident in 1992. I actually had three accidents in one day," Vereen told host Marc Lamont Hill. "I was driving my car, I hit a tree ... I hit my head, damaging an artery to my brain. And I had a stroke walking home, was hit by a truck. ... Anyway, I tell you this story because I got the call to do this show after that. So it was very special to me."

Vereen, who stars alongside Chris Rock in the upcoming "Top Five," came to "Fresh Prince" with plenty of credentials. He is a Tony winner, a Golden-Globe nominee and an Emmy nominee. He saw the role as a chance to work with the 25-year-old Smith, who many say showcased his serious acting chops for the first time in this same scene.

"We got into a thing. It was just amazing," Vereen said. "You see it right there. He really went to another place. He allowed himself to go there with me. I was bringing it. I told him, 'We got to bring it.'"

Watch the rest of the clip above, and catch the full HuffPost Live conversation here.

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