James Avery portrayed his iconic role as Uncle Phil in more than 140 episodes of The Fresh Prince, growing with his on-screen family since the show’s inception in 1990.
The beloved star passed away in December of 2014 due to complications with open-heart surgery. He was 68-years-old at the time of his departure.
Widely considered one of the greatest TV dads of all time, the entire cast shed light on their experience working with James Avery and you can see the Banks family definitely felt his impact on their lives. Will Smith said Avery was the “sounding board” to most of his decisions throughout his career on the show.
” He was a massive rock of a man physically, spiritually, and emotionally,” Smith recalled. “James was the sounding board of my career decisions. Everybody on the set was his kids. He held that position proudly.”
Check out the segment below:
Do you have any favorite Uncle Phil memories of your own? We loved every single time he had to sit Will or Ashley or Hillary down and let them know what time it was — but probably our favorite moments were all those times Uncle Phil kicked Jazzy Jeff out of the house. Either way, the show will never be the same without his legendary presence.
Kudos to Will and the cast for giving James Avery his flowers.
See more of The Fresh Prince Reunion special, now streaming on @HBO Max.