With the start of the New Year also marked some sad news as we lost talented actor, James Avery, who was best known for his role as “Uncle Phil” on the hit 90s sitcom The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. CBS LA reports that Avery died on Tuesday after complications following open heart surgery. He was 68.
Many of Avery’s co-stars took to social media to express their condolences as well as share heartfelt memories of their time on set with the actor, including actor Alfonso Ribeiro, who played his on screen son, Carlton Banks.
“I’m deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly,” Riberio tweeted.
Other Fresh Prince cast members, Tatyana Ali, Ross Bagley and DJ Jazzy Jeff, followed shortly to offer their condolences.
James was my teacher my protector & the most magnificent actor. We’re feeling his loss very deeply. He’ll always be apart of me #JamesAvery
— Tatyana Ali (@TatyanaAli) January 1, 2014
I am deeply saddened by the news of James Avery passing, he was a great man first and actor second. He will be missed….smh
— Ross Bagley (@BossRagley) January 1, 2014
RIP James Avery…Thank U for the talks,travel tips and the jazz cd’s. A great Friend and Even Better Person…You will be Missed!! #FPOB
— Mr Vinyl Destination (@djjazzyjeff215) January 1, 2014
Many other celebrities who worked with Avery over the years also shared memories of their time spent with him.
Sending condolences to the family of James Avery, “Uncle Phil” of the Fresh Prince. I’ll always remember how warm he was to me on set.
— Tyra Banks (@tyrabanks) January 2, 2014
James Avery was a very funny and smart man. He did a cameo as a favor to me in WIWH and had the entire set rolling with laughter. RIP.
— Zach Braff (@zachbraff) January 1, 2014
Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith also paid tribute to her husband’s former co-star on Facebook, writing, “Happy New Year everyone! I was hoping to start the new year differently but we have lost yet another friend. James Avery who we all lovingly know as Uncle Phil from The Fresh Prince has passed. Our condolences to aunt Florence (his mother), Miss Barbara (his wife) and all those who loved him. Rest in peace James.”
For more on James Avery’s life and career, visit CBSLA.com.