James Avery, 68, lovingly known as “Uncle Phil” (Phillip Banks) to Will Smith’s character on the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” has passed away. Having recently undergone open heart surgery, the beloved actor passed away from complications on New Year’s Eve.
A native of Atlantic City, NJ, Avery is a former military man. His first onscreen appearance was in an uncredited role in the 1980’s film The Blues Brothers.
Alfonso Ribeiro, who played his son Carlton Banks on the ’90s television comedy, posts on social media:
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