James Avery, the beloved patriarch of the popular television series “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”, has died aged 65.
The actor played Uncle Phil to Will Smith in the beloved show from 1990 to 1996. He passed away last night from complications following open heart surgery.
Avery reportedly died suddenly in a Los Angeles hospital last night.
The actor had recently undergone surgery for an undisclosed illness and his health took a turn for the worse late yesterday.
James’ wife, Barbara, had briefly left his bedside to get food when he passed away.
Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Avery’s on-screen son Carlton on the show, tweeted, “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’s Fresh Prince character, Philip Banks, was ranked #34 in TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time.
The actor also provided the voice of Shredder in the original “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” television series, as well as “War Machine” in the animated series “Iron Man”.
James Avery also played Michael Kelso’s commanding officer at the police academy in the sitcom “That ’70s Show”.
Avery, who was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, recently filmed “Valediction” and starred in “Grey’s Anatomy”.
He is survived by his wife of 26 years, Barbara Avery, his mother, Florence Avery of Atlantic City, and a stepson, Kevin Waters.
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