Avery, who was 68, died last week due to complications from open heart surgery.
Will Smith, who played Avery’s street-smart nephew on the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” series, responded with his thoughts yesterday via Facebook.
“Some of my greatest lessons in Acting, Living and being a respectable human being came through James Avery,” Smith wrote. “Every young man needs an Uncle Phil. Rest in Peace.” Smith also shared a photo of the last time he and Avery were together.
The news of Avery’s death on New Year’s Eve was sent out to the world by Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Avery’s son, Carlton, on the show, by sharing his condolences on Twitter.
Avery played the family patriarch and a wealthy attorney and judge on the popular TV comedy that launched the acting career of Will Smith as Banks’ trouble-making nephew.
The sitcom, which aired on NBC from 1990 to 1996, was set in the Banks’ mansion, where Smith’s character was sent from Philadelphia when things got tough in his own neighborhood. Fans came to know the imposing Banks as “Uncle Phil.”