James Avery, best known for playing Judge Philip Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, passed away on December 31, 2013 in Glendale, CA. Avery, 68, died as the result of complications following open heart surgery. Avery had recently completed work on Zach Braff’s Wish I Was Here which is set to premiere at Sundance.
Avery’s The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-star Alfonso Ribeiro posted a message on his Facebook about the man who played his father on the series:
The world has lost a truly special man. I am very saddened to say that James Avery has passed. Even though he played my father on TV, he was a wonderful father figure to me in life. He will be deeply missed.”
Ribeiro also Tweeted the sad news:
I'm deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly. pic.twitter.com/UrW0EeBFbO
— Alfonso Ribeiro (@alfonso_ribeiro) January 1, 2014
Jada Pinkett Smith also expressed her condolences via Facebook:
Happy New Year everyone! I was hoping to start the new year differently but we have lost yet another friend. James Avery who we all lovingly know as Uncle Phil from The Fresh Prince has passed.
Our condolences to aunt Florence (his mother), Miss Barbara (his wife) and all those who loved him.
Rest in peace James.
Avery starred in the hit TV series opposite Will Smith from 1990 to 1996. His credits also include voicing Shredder on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle TV series and starring in the ’90s TV series Sparks. Avery’s film credits include Dancing in September, Raise Your Voice, Danika, and Divine Intervention.
Avery is survived by Barbara, his wife of 26 years, and his stepson, Kevin Waters.
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