James Avery Passes Away


James Avery, who shot to fame with his iconic character of Philip Banks, Will Smith‘s no-nonsense rich uncle on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, passed away on December 31, 2103, the actor’s manager confirmed on January 01, 2914.  Avery’s wife, Barbara, was by his side before leaving for a brief moment to get food. Upon her return he was dead. He was sixty eight.

Avery died at a Glendale Hospital, Los Angeles due to complications from open-heart surgery. He never stopped working, most recently shooting Zach Braff‘s film Wish I Was Here up until September 2103.

Avery amassed dozens of TV and film roles over the years, including appearances on The Closer, That ’70s Show and Grey’s Anatomy.

Avery, who was born in Virginia and was raised in Atlantic City. After high school, he enlisted in the Navy and served in the Vietnam War. After his discharge, he settled in San Diego and wrote poetry and television scripts for PBS. He also lent that booming voice of his to a number of animated shows and films over the years, including TV’s Teenage Mutanta Ninja Turtles (he was The Shredder!), the 1990s-era Iron Man series and The Prince of Egypt. His many live-action film credits include The Brady Bunch Movie and Dr. Dolittle 2.

Alfonso Ribeiro who played the character of Carlton Banks on the comedy series tweeted his condolences, “I am deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.”

Miguel A Nunez Jr, who worked with Avery on the show Sparks, also expressed his grief and wrote, “Rest in Peace James Avery. Love You. One of the best actors of our time.”

Fresh Prince co-star Tatyana Ali expressed grief and wrote, “James was my teacher, my protector and the most magnificent actor. We are felling his loss very deeply. He’ll always be a part of me.”

James Avery is survived by his wife of twenty six years, Barbara Avery; stepson Kevin Waters; and his mother, Florence Avery.

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