James Avery, 68, has been reported dead due to complications during open heart surgery yesterday, according to his manager who reported it to CNN.
Avery who played Uncle Phil on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for 7 seasons was also the voice of Shredder for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show from 1987-1993.
Since Bel-Air ended in 1996, he has been doing a lot TV spots and small roles in films such as Dr. Dolittle 2, Raise Your Voice, and Who’s Your Caddy?
He recently just finished shooting Zach Braff’s new film Wish You Were Here, which also stars Jim Parsons, Kate Hudson, and Mandy Patinkin, and is set to show at the Sundance Film Festival before being released in September of this year.
A few actors who have worked with Avery released statements talking about Avery.
Joseph Marcell, who played the butler Geoffrey said that he was “a marvelous man and a truly wonderful actor.”
Avery’s TV son Carliton, Alfonso Riberio, also tweeted his feelings about Avery’s passing. “He was a second father to me. I will miss him deeply.”
Will Smith and Jade Pinkett Smith released a join statement about his passing, “Our condolences to aunt Florence (his mother), Miss Barbara (his wife), and all those who loved him.”
He is survived by his wife Barbara, his mother Florence, and his stepson Kevin Waters.