My spirit stood still after waking from my nap on the first day of 2014, only to discover my social media timelines being flooded with people’s favorite Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air memories. CNN.Com has reported that the man who many of us grew up with in our homes died on Tuesday from complications following open-heart surgery. 68-year old James Avery (better known from his role as Uncle Phil) may have played a father figure to Will Smith on a TV sitcom, but he played an even bigger part in the lives of real people. His character was one that many families could relate to. We all had a super strict “Uncle Phil” in our lives…and if we didn’t, then we wanted one!
Uncle Phil Questions Carlton & Will’s Bad Behavior [WATCH]:
Because of my experience in acting, I respected James Avery on a deeper level. I admired that he was an actor who started his career on the stage. There are no “Take 2’s” in Theater…you have one shot to get it right. I met him almost 10 years ago while he was performing in JeCaryous Johnson’s stageplay “Cheaters” and was able to study his performance in hopes of one day becoming a household name like him.
Thank you for the years of inspiration that you’ve given me. My heart goes out to your wife, family, friends and fellow fans. Your presence will be missed.
Alphonso Ribiero (Carlton Banks) was one of the first of Avery’s co-stars to share news of his passing: “I’m deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me.”
Jada Pinkett-Smith wrote a message on her Facebook Page on behalf of her and her husband: “Our condolences to aunt Florence (his mother), Miss Barbara (his wife) and all those who loved him.”