James Avery : 'Fresh Prince' star dies aged 68
James Avery : 'Fresh Prince' star dies aged 68

James Avery : ‘Fresh Prince’ star dies aged 68

Los Angeles – Several stars have paid tribute to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor James Avery after he passed away.

The 65-year-old star, who played Uncle Phil in the popular 1990s US sitcom, died in hospital in Los Angeles, California, on Tuesday aged 68 from complications following open heart surgery.

Avery’s voice was heard in many animated TV series, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Iron Man, and he guest-starred on That ’70s Show as a police officer.

But the native of Atlantic City, N.J., gained fame playing family patriarch Uncle Philip Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which starred Smith as a young rap artist from a tough Philadelphia neighborhood who ends up living with well-heeled relatives in the affluent Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles.

The sitcom aired on NBC for six years. It was built largely around the clash of cultures between the refined lifestyle of Banks and his household and the brash, freewheeling attitude of his nephew.

The series, which launched Smith’s acting career, ended with Uncle Philip putting his mansion up for sale and it being bought by George and Louise Jefferson — actors Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford — of The Jeffersons.


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