So much for a Fresh Prince reunion special…James Avery, best known for playing Will Smith’s Uncle Phil on NBC’s hit ’90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, died Tuesday at a Los Angeles-area hospital. He was 65.
Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Avery’s TV son Carlton Banks on the comedy, broke the news on with a posting to his Facebook page:
“The world has lost a truly special man. I am very saddened to say that James Avery has passed. Even though he played my father on TV, he was a wonderful father figure to me in life. He will be deeply missed.”
A cause of death has not yet been released, but Avery recently underwent open heart surgery. It’s suspected that complications from the surgery were a factor in his passing.
In addition to his role in Fresh Prince, Avery’s resumé also included stints on a host of other small screen classics, L.A. Law, Dharma & Greg, That ’70s Show, Star Trek: Enterprise and The Closer. The star also appeared alongside Terrence Howard on the shortlived UPN series Sparks in the mid-1990s.