On Wednesday, January 1 TVLine posted the news that actor James Avery has passed away at the age of 65. The actor, best known for playing the role of Uncle Phil Banks on the television sitcom "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," passed away on New Year's Eve after being admitted to a hospital in Los Angeles for open heart surgery. Actor Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Avery's son on the series, also posted messages on the social media websites Twitter and Facebook.
After his breakout role as the family patriarch in "Fresh Prince" in the 1990s, Avery made appearances in television drama's like "Grey's Anatomy" and "Harry's Law," as well as a recurring role on "The Closer" as Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Crippen. He was also the voice of Shredder in the television series "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." Avery's wife Barbara was by his side.
Avery was born in Atlantic City in 1948 and joined the United States Navy after graduating from high school. He served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969 before settling in San Diego and began an acting career. He first film role was a small appearance in the 1980 film "The Blues Brothers." The actor appeared in three television movies in 2013 including "Go, Bolivia, Go," "Call Me Crazy: A Five Film," and "Hunt for the Labyrinth Killer."
Ribeiro was the first actor from the series to post condolences for the actor, whom he called "his second father" and a "great man." Avery was last reunited with the cast of "Fresh Prince," including breakout star Will Smith two years ago for a special reunion. No other actor's from the series have yet to comment publicly.
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