James Avery, the actor who played Uncle Phil on “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” died on Tuesday, his publicist confirmed to DezJermaine News. What was my favorite sitcom loses one of the head stars, the one who kept the laughter going and always kept “Will” in check with heart to heart conversations; while also always managing to keep us all laughing by throwing “Jazz” out the back door.
The actor, 68, died from complications of open heart surgery, publicist Cynthia Snyder said. He died in Glendale, Calif.
Born James La Rue Avery in Virginia, Avery was raised in Atlantic City. After high school, he served in the Vietnam War from 1968 to 1969 as a member of the U.S. Navy. After returning home, Avery moved to San Diego, where he wrote poetry and TV scripts for PBS, including the Emmy Award-winning production, “Ameda Speaks: Poet James Avery.”
However, Avery perhaps was most beloved for his acting. In addition to his most famous role on the sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” he also lent his voice to several animated TV series, including “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Iron Man.” He also appeared on the big screen in films including “Dr. Dolittle 2” and “License to Drive,” and hosted the travel series “Going Places” on PBS.
Here is a Tribute to Avery “Uncle Phil” Johnson:
Most recently, Avery worked on Zach Braff’s film, “Wish I Was Here,” which will premiere at the Sundance film festival.
” I’m deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away,” his “Fresh Prince” co-star Alfonso Ribeiro tweeted. “He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.”
Avery is survived by his wife of 26 years, Barbara, his stepson, Kevin Waters, and his mother, Florence.
Snyder said plans are being made for a memorial service; what will perhaps be one of the biggest loses in hollywood we all here at DezJermaine.com send our condolence to the Johnson family and the cast members of all the shows Avery Johnson acted in may he Rest in Peace.