James Avery, who starred as Uncle Phil on all six seasons of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, passed away New Year’s Eve following complications from open-heart surgery. He was 68.
His on-screen son Alfonso Ribeiro was among the first to spread the news of Avery’s passing, writing on Twitter:
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
Avery was best known for playing Uncle Phil on the 1990s comedy that kick-started Will Smith’s acting career. He also enjoyed notable roles as a voice actor, providing voices for Shredder on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and James “Rhodey” Rhodes on the short-lived Iron Man cartoon.
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