'Fresh Prince' Actor James Avery Dead At 68 | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

'Fresh Prince' Actor James Avery Dead At 68

James Avery, the actor who played the Honorable Philip Banks — also known as Uncle Phil — on the TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, has died.

Avery died on Tuesday in Glendale, Calif., following complications from open heart surgery, publicist Cynthia Snyder told NPR. Avery was 68.

Known for his booming voice and imposing size, Avery played the judge and attorney who was the patriarch of the wealthy Banks family. Will Smith's character on the NBC sitcom was sent to live with the Banks family after his "mom got scared" about some trouble in the neighborhood. The show ran from 1990 to 1996 and launched Smith's acting career.

Actor Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Carlton Banks, the son of Avery's character on the show, reacted on Twitter to the news of his former co-star's death:

After the show ended, Avery continued to have a busy and diverse career in TV and film as well as voice work. His TV credits include That '70s Show, NYPD Blue, Star Trek: Enterprise and Grey's Anatomy.

Avery will be seen in Zach Braff's Wish I Was Here, set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this month.

Avery was born in Virginia but raised in Atlantic City, N.J. He joined the U.S. Navy after high school and served in Vietnam in 1968 to 1969. Upon returning, he studied drama and literature at the University of California San Diego.

He is survived by his wife, mother and stepson.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Mega-Rich Invest In Works By Living Artists

Renee Montagne talks to art sociologist and writer Sarah Thornton about how the habits of the 1 percent reverberate across the art world. She is the author of 33 Artists in 3 Acts.
WAMU 88.5

This Week On Metro Connection: Down The Hatch (Rebroadcast)

We'll celebrate Thanksgiving by revisiting our annual show about food, glorious food.
NPR

Pentagon Expected To Release More Detainees From Guantanamo

Since the midterm elections, there has been a new batch of transfers from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and more releases are in the works. But a new GOP Congress could stall the drive to empty Guantanamo.
NPR

Millennial Doctors May Be More Tech-Savvy, But Is That Better?

Text messages from your doctor are just the start. Millennials are the next generation of doctors and they're not afraid to say "chillax" in a consultation or check Twitter to find medical research.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.