Baritone-voiced actor James Avery, who rose to prominence playing Uncle Phil to Will Smith’s Fresh Prince Of Bel Air in the hit 1990’s sitcom, has died aged 68. Avery passed away following complications from open heart surgery in a Los Angeles hospital on New Years Eve.
In addition to playing the wealthy father figure in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Avery voiced the arch villain Shredder in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, and had roles in That 70’s Show, Grey’s Anatomy and Star Trek: Enterprise, among many other films and television appearances. Avery’s final performance will be a cameo in Zach Braff’s Wish I Was Here, on which he worked until September.
Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Avery’s nerdy son Carlton on The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air, tweeted his condolences, while Will Smith‘s wife Jada Pinkett Smith took to Facebook to express her sympathies.
Rest in Peace, The Fresh King of Bel Air.
I’m deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly. pic.twitter.com/UrW0EeBFbO
— Alfonso Ribeiro (@alfonso_ribeiro) January 1, 2014
Via TMZ. Lead Image by Mark Mainz via Getty Images Entertainment