So sad. The man who is best known for playing Will Smith’s Uncle Phil on ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ died on Dec. 31 after suffering complications from a heart surgery.
Rest in peace, Uncle Phil. James Avery passed away on Dec. 31 in a Los Angeles hospital. Unfortunately, after undergoing open heart surgery, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air actor suffered complications, according to TMZ. He was 68 years old.
James Avery Dies At 68
Alfonso Ribeiro, who played James’ son on Fresh Prince, confirmed the actor’s death in a sad tweet:
I’m deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly. pic.twitter.com/UrW0EeBFbO
— Alfonso Ribeiro (@alfonso_ribeiro) January 1, 2014
James’ wife had reportedly been with him throughout the surgery and in recovery. However, she stepped away from his hospital bed for a brief moment, and she returned she learned that her husband had died, TMZ reports.
Though James is best known for playing the wise, lovable but firm dad and uncle to Will Smith on Fresh Prince, he had many starring roles throughout his career. He starred on TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy, The Closer, LA Law, The Jeffersons, and more. His voice also gave life to Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
A classically trained poet and actor from Atlantic City, New Jersey, James got into the acting business after serving in the Navy in the Vietnam War. “I knew I loved the arts,” James said on the show Unscripted. “I knew I wanted to be a writer, but the theater was something I had been involved in before.”
We are so sad to see James go. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.
— Andrew Gruttadaro