The man that played the role of Phillip Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air which aired from 1990 to 1996, James Avery, has died after complications from open heart surgery that he had on November 11. He died on December 31, 2013. Avery was 68 years old.
I was a fan of the sitcom Fresh Prince. I admired the role Avery played. He was a father of four that took in his wife’s nephew (A role played by Will Smith) because of the crime in the area he was surrounded in, in Philadelphia. Uncle Phil managed to keep his family together in a way that made the viewers all wish for an Uncle like Uncle Phil! He played a successful attorney that became a respected judge in Bel-Air California. One of the co-stars of Fresh Prince who played son Carlton, Alfonso Ribeiro remarked 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.”
Avery was raised by a single mother in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He also served in Vietnam in the late 160’s in the Navy. Once out of the Navy he lived in California and studied drama and literature. His first onscreen appearance was as a dancer in a role in the 1980’s hit movie, “The Blues Brothers”, although it was an unaccredited role.
Avery also appeared in shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” “NYPD Blue,” “Dallas” and “That 70’s Show”. He also used his voice in “The Teenage Mutant Ninga Turtles”, reading the lines for the character Shredder. He also appeared in “Charmed” and “That’s So Raven.”
Some of the movies that James Avery were credited with include “Fletch,” “The Prince of Egypt” and “8 Million Ways To Die.”
James Avery is survived by his wife, Barbara and a stepson, Kevin Waters. He will be sadly missed. May he Rest In Peace.