Fresh Prince of Bel Air star dies at 68

Fresh Prince of Bel Air star dies at 68

On Tuesday December 24 (Christmas Eve) in Glendale, California actor James Avery died at the age of 68. Avery’s death was caused by complications from heart surgery.  Avery was a well accomplished actor who got his start writing TV scripts. He would eventually get his big break in staring in the hit show The Fresh Prince of Bel Air as Uncle Phil. With his deep and impelling voice Avery also worked as a voice actor and did the voice of some of our favorite childhood villains such as Shredder (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and James Rhodes (Iron man).

Many of us regular TV watchers knew Avery from the hit comedy show The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. On the show, he played Will Smith’s overpowering wealthy uncle who worked as a lawyer and later a judge. The Fresh Prince would go on to be a well known show, it was later syndicated on popular networks such as ABC, TBS, WGN and Nickelodeon. With Smith and Avery’s onset chemistry, the show was a hit off the bat and would eventually make Smith one of Hollywood’s newest bankable movie stars.

Although many of us knew him as Will Smith’s beloved uncle, very few of us knew how big Avery really was.  With it being hard enough to take a stab at somebody’s height on T.V. especially in this case wear fellow actor Will Smith stood decently tall himself at 6’-2″, Avery overshadowed Smith at 6’-5”; he was one of Hollywood’s biggest actors at the time. On the show there was often a running theme between Will and his uncle about his weight. The irony between the show and Avery’s death was in season four episode 10 when Uncle Phil has a heart attack.

As death fell upon Avery, it not only hit his real life family hard but his on set family hard as well, because at times he was seeing his on set family more than his real life one. Fellow co-stars were absolutely devastated to hear about Avery’s death with Alfonso Ribeiro who played his son on the show wrote on Facebook 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.”

As on set husband, father of three and uncle to one, he will be dearly missed by his real life family, the Banks family, and the Fresh Prince fan base.