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‘Every young man needs an Uncle Phil’: Will Smith remembers James Avery

Actor Will Smith attends the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center on August 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for MTV)

On screen James Avery was “Uncle Phil” to Will Smith, but off-screen he was the man who showed Smith how to be a “respectable human being”. According to a report by the Hollywood Reporter on Jan.6, Smith, who starred alongside Avery in the 1990s sitcom “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, has finally broken his silence on the death of Avery.

Smith gave tribute to the late actor who died just last week from complications due to open heart surgery. Like his onscreen persona, Smith attributes Avery to teaching him how to be a man and also how to be an actor. He was just as much of his “Uncle Phil” in real life. In a Facebook post, Smith writes:

“Some of my greatest lessons in Acting, Living and being a respectable human being came through James Avery. Every young man needs an Uncle Phil. Rest in Peace.”

James Avery was just 68 years old when he passed away but in the hearts of Smith and many who tuned into the “Rest Prince of Bel-Air” he will forever be alive through memory and the special moments he produced on TV screens.

As Will Smith has made a name for himself in the world of acting he does attribute it to James Avery. Actor Alfonso Ribeiro and Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith also gave tribute to Avery following his death on Dec. 31.