As reported in Variety.com, James Avery, the imposing actor who laid down the law as the Honorable Philip Banks – aka Will Smith’s “Uncle Phil” – inThe Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, has died. Avery’s publicist, Cynthia Snyder, told the Associated Press that Avery died Tuesday. The Associated Press reported that he was 65, while TMZ, which said he died in a Glendale, Calif. hospital after heart surgery, said he was 68.
Alfonso Ribeiro who played his son on Fresh Prince, remembered him on Twitter.
I’m deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly. @alfonso_ribeiro
Avery’s movie credits included The Blues Brothers, Fletch, The Brady Bunch Movie and Doctor Dolittle 2. He appeared on dozens of TV shows including Hill St. Blues, L.A. Law, The Division, Soul Food, That ’70s Show, All of Us, Grey’s Anatomy and The Closer. Born in Atlantic City, N.J., he served in Vietnam and began writing TV scripts and poetry for PBS. He graduated with a drama degree from U.C. San Diego. In addition to extensive work as a voiceover actor on productions such as The Wild Thornberrys and Prince of Egypt, he hosted the PBS travel show Going Places. To learn more about his life and career, click here.
article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson