James Avery, the actor who played Uncle Phil on the show The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, has passed away at the age of 67.
Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Uncle Phil’s son Carlton on the show, broke the news on Twitter.
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
CNN reports that Avery’s death was the result of complications from open-heart surgery.
Avery’s career began in 1980 when he landed an uncredited role in the movie The Blues Brothers. He has hundreds of credits to his name, including parts in Fletch, Rambo, Dallas, Night Court, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and more recently, Grey’s Anatomy. Of course, he’ll be remembered by most as Will Smith’s uncle Phil in The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air.
— Amy Lawson (@Amy_Lawson) January 1, 2014
RIP James Avery, I will always remember you as Uncle Phil. Gone but never forgotten. pic.twitter.com/GoB6fXSASh
— ㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤ (@ccarlos_2) January 1, 2014
Fresh Prince fans have been sharing their favorite scenes today on Twitter and many of them have named “Uncle Phil’s hug” as one of the emotional scenes on television. Of course, a lot of that emotion comes from the heart-wrenching speech given by Will Smith (Yes, Fresh Prince had some emotional moments) but it was Uncle Phil’s hug that put a perfect finish on the scene.
According to IMBD, the hug was actually unscripted. James Avery just got caught up in the moment and grabbed his co-star Will Smith.
That hug uncle Phil gave when Will said “How come he don’t want me man?” Dog…
— Pastor Chris Neal (@iAmChrisNeal) January 1, 2014
Man, when Uncle Phil gave Will that hug after Will’s dad walked out again….I tear up every time
— Sean (@NotAKop) January 1, 2014
Avery has appeared in hundreds of television shows and movies over the years but he never achieve the star-status of his co-star Will Smith. Of course, that didn’t seem to bother Avery.
In 2007 he told the New York Film Academy: “You can either be a movie star or an actor. I’m an actor … (But) I’ve done pretty good.”
RIP, James Avery. A whole generation grew up on Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Uncle Phil was like everyone’s uncle. Sad news.
— MillionDollarKidひ (@SleepIsForRich) January 1, 2014