The fun loving actor James Avery passed away at the age of 68. He was best known as beloved Uncle Phil on the 1990’s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
Avery’s co-star Joseph Marcell, who portrayed the family butler, told CNN that Avery was “a marvelous man and a truly wonderful actor — He strove to present an Uncle Phil that everybody wishes was their uncle,” Marcell said.
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith wrote, “Our condolences to aunt Florence (his mother), Miss Barbara (his wife) and all those who loved him.”
Avery grew up in Atlantic City, New Jersey where he became a classically trained actor and poet. He served in the Navy during Vietnam War before appearing in his first onscreen gig as a dancer in the film “The Blues Brothers.”
The cause of death was due to complications from open-heart surgery, said his manager, Toni Benson. Avery had surgery on November 11 and died Tuesday evening at a hospital in Glendale, California, according to Benson.