James Avery, famous for his character as Will Smith’s loveable but stern, rich uncle on the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, is said to have died on Tuesday night (31/12/13), TMZ has reported.
Best known for his role as Uncle Phil on the hit 90’s sitcom, Avery played the honourable Phillip Banks who started out as a lawyer and eventually became a judge. The hilarious sit-com ran from 1990-1996.
Cynthia Snyder, Avery’s publicist, told the associated Press that his death was due to complications from an open heart surgery in Glendale, California. He was 68, Snyder confirmed.
Cynthia went on to say that Avery never stopped working. In the last year, he has done three movies. The latest one, an indie film “Wish I was here” will premier this month.
Avery’s acting life has been a huge success; with a deep voice and the talented actor he was, he has played doctors, lawyers and professors. Some of his film credits include Grey’s Anatomy, L.A Lawyers, That 70’s Show, The Jeffersons, That’s So Raven and so many more. He also voiced Shredder from the original TV series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Almost everyone that watched him have fell in love with the characters that he has played.
Alfonso Ribeiro, Avery’s Co-star, who played the role of his son Carlton on “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, tweeted on Thursday (2/1/14):
“I'm deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.”
Tatyana Ali, who played Avery’s daughter Ashley on “Fresh prince”, also tweeted
“James was my teacher my protector & the most magnificent actor. We're feeling his loss very deeply. He'll always be a part of me #JamesAvery”.
James Avery has left behind his wife of 26 years, Barbara Avery, his mother, Florence Avery and his stepson Kevin Waters.