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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Actor James Avery Dies; Best Known As Uncle Phil From "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"

James Avery, Also Known As Uncle Phil, Dies

James Avery, who played Philip Banks on the popular 90's show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, has died from open heart surgery complications. He was only 65 years old, and was living in Glendale, California.

Avery, while growing up in Atlantic City, New Jersey, studied acting and poetry, but went on to serve in the Navy during the Vietnam War. After his return, he moved to San Diego, started writing poetry and TV scripts for PBS, and eventually got his break in film with a small role in the 1980's film The Blues Brothers.

He eventually hit the jackpot with the role as Uncle Phil on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air starring Will Smith. After that show ended, he appeared in several other TV shows including That '70s Show, CSI, The Closer and LA Law. Most recently, Avery worked on Zach Braff's film, Wish I Was Here, which will premiere at the upcoming 2014 Sundance film festival.

Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Carlton on "Fresh Prince," posted a message on his Facebook page, saying, "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."

Avery is survived by his loving wife of 26 years, Barbara Avery, and his stepson Kevin Waters.

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