James Avery, famous star of ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,’ dies at 68 : worldleaks
US actor James Avery, most famous as Uncle Phil in hit 1990s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” died on New Year’s Eve aged 68, his publicist said.
His first big-screen role was an uncredited part in 1980s classic “The Blues Brothers,” and he enjoyed a prolific TV and movie career stretching over three decades.
But the role most people will remember him for is as Philip Banks on the 1990s NBC series, who played a role model to the young Will Smith’s character, a fictionalized rapper version of himself.
“I’m deeply felt to say James Avery has passed away,” his “Fresh Prince” co-star Alfonso Ribeiro tweeted. “He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.”
Born James LaRue Avery in Virginia and raised in New Jersey, he had worked until September, shooting the film “Wish I Was Here” directed by Zach Braff, which will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this month.
Avery died late Tuesday in hospital in Glendale, outside Los Angeles, “due to complications from open heart surgery,” his publicist Cynthia Snyder told AFP in an email.
He is lived by his wife of 26 years, Barbara Avery, his mother Florence Avery, and his stepson Kevin Waters. Plans are being made for a memorial service, the spokeswoman said.
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