Uncle Phil From Fresh Prince, James Avery, Dies at 68

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Correction appended, Jan. 2

James Avery, the actor who played Uncle Phil on the popular ’90s TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, died on Tuesday night at a hospital in Los Angeles. He was 68.

According to TMZ, Avery died due to complications from open-heart surgery he’d recently had.

In addition to his role as the stern but loving dad on Fresh Prince, Avery had roles on shows like Grey’s Anatomy and The Jeffersons. He’s also known as the voice of Shredder, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ primary enemy.

Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Uncle Phil’s son Carlton on Fresh Prince, took to social media to express his anguish. “I am very saddened to say that James Avery has passed,” he said in a Facebook post. “Even though he played my father on TV, he was a wonderful father figure to me in life. He will be deeply missed.”


Correction: The original version of this story misstated James Avery’s age when he died.