James Avery

James Avery, the bulky character actor who laid down the law as the Honorable Philip Banks in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” has died.


Avery’s publicist, Cynthia Snyder, told The Associated Press that Avery died Tuesday in Glendale, Calif., following complications from open heart surgery. He was 68, Snyder said.

Avery’s “Fresh Prince” co-star Alfonso Ribeiro, who played his son Carlton on the show, took to Twitter following Avery’s death:

Avery played Will Smith’s uncle on the popular TV series and was called Uncle Phil. His movie credits included “Fletch,” “The Prince of Egypt” and “8 Million Ways to Die.” He also appeared in “Grey’s Anatomy,” “That ’70s Show” “Charmed” and “That’s So Raven.”

According to Snyder, he will be seen in the film “Wish I Was Here,” directed by Zach Braff and scheduled to premiere later this month at the Sundance festival.

Avery grew up in Atlantic City, N.J., and served in the Navy in Vietnam in the late 1960s. After returning to the states, he settled in California and studied drama and literature at the University of California at San Diego.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and stepson Kevin Waters.

James Avery was a remarkable TV and Film actor who left an indelible mark as one of the greatest TV dads of all time. My thoughts go out to his family and friends.



Posted on January 2, 2014, in In Memoriam and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. A sad way to start the year. RIP James Avery aka Uncle Phil

  2. Just looking at his imdb profile I didn’t know (though i should have) that he provided the voice of shredder on 80s version of TMNT animated cartoon as well as war machine/James Rhodes in the 90s iron man animated series.

  3. I was just telling someone the other day that he’s done more than 50 movies and 200 TV shows. The first thing I remembered about him was voicing Shredder on TMNT. He had a very distinguished career.

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