ByAnna Mary Reuben, writer at
Anna Mary Reuben

So sad to have to start the new year with some bad news. I was deeply saddened to hear about the death of James Avery who played Uncle Phil in the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. He died on the 31st December in LA due to complications arising from open heart surgery.

The news has got me thinking about how much I loved the Fresh Prince and the character of Uncle Phil, the much-loved fatherly figure of the show which ran from 1990-1996 and still holds a place in many people's hearts.

While at first the character was a stern patriarch who seem to want to shut down Will Smith's fun, he developed into a warm father figure, thanks to James Avery's delicate and subtle acting skills.

He depicted some of the most emotional moments in the show and taught us some of life's most important lessons, becoming a second father for many.

James Avery was a great actor who absolutely loved what he did and he will be greatly missed. Here's a quote from 2007 on what his profession meant to him:

You can either be a movie star or an actor. I'm an actor... You are only an actor if you absolutely love it and can not do anything else. Starving for your art is great in your 20s, but it's not so great at 35. It has to be absolute love. You can't worry about being a movie star or anything else. Just love. That's it.

Rest in peace, James.

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