Unfortunately, the acting world started the New Year by saying goodbye to one of its dearest.
James Avery was, quite possibly, one of the most famous TV dads in the 1990s. Known as Uncle Phil, he was well-loved by audiences of the sitcom.
His former costars have been making public statements about him since the announcement of his death earlier this week, Digital Spy reports.
Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Avery’s son Carlton on the show, was the first to confirm the sad news on his Twitter and Facebook accounts on January 1.
“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,” he wrote.
As the day went on, more costars took to social media to share their grief over Avery’s passing.
Tatyana Ali, who played his onscreen daughter Ashley tweeted:
On Thursday, she tweeted a poem by Nikki Giovanni in his memory, attaching two old photos of the cast on the set of Fresh Prince.
Tyra Banks paid her tribute as well, writing, “Sending condolences to the family of James Avery, ‘Uncle Phil’ of the Fresh Prince. I’ll always remember how warm he was to me on set.” Banks made several appearances on the show, as Will Smith’s girlfriend Jackie.
Janet Hubert, known onscreen as Avery’s wife Aunt Viv, expressed her grief and admiration for him in a statement to theGrio.
“[I] was shocked to hear of James’ passing. He was one of the best actors I have worked with in my many years. My heart goes out to Barbara, his real wife and family…RIP James, all the world is a stage, and we are all merely players in this production called LIFE,” she said.
Not only will his friends and family miss him, but so will those of us here at PopWrapped who grew up watching him portray the iconic patriarch of the Banks family.
Rest in peace, Mr. Avery.