‘Fresh Prince’ Actor James Avery Dies

Actor James Avery, best known for playing uncle Philip Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air died Tuesday. He was 65.

Cynthia Snyder, Avery’s publicist, told the Associated Press that the actor passed away Tuesday in Glendale, Calif., after experiencing complications from open-heart surgery.

A Navy veteran and trained Shakespearean actor, Avery became a familiar face to TV viewers as Uncle Phil, the curmudgeonly father figure to Will Smith’s character on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which aired from 1990 to 1996 on NBC.

Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Carlton Banks on the series, tweeted Wednesday, “I’m deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.”