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Will Smith – Every young man needs an Uncle Phil!

January 8, 2014 | by Remel London

I can honestly say it was a huge shock to not only the world, but to me as big fan of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, to hear of the passing of James Avery, who played the role of Judge Philip Banks and uncle to Will Smith in the TV sitcom.

The news broke online when co-star Alfonso Ribeiro, most commonly known as Carlton Banks, posted his condolences on Facebook on New Years Eve.

Will Smith recently shared his sadness of the passing of the 65 year old actor, who died of heart surgery complications.

Will left this message on his official facebook page

“Some of my greatest lessons in Acting, Living and being a respectable human being came through James Avery. Every young man needs an Uncle Phil. Rest in Peace,”

He then added a photo of the pair with fellow Fresh Prince co-stars Alfonso Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons and Tatyana Ali, adding, “This photo was the last time we were together.”

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James Avery was definitely a role model, playing a successful black superior court judge from proving anyone can make it in Bel Air.

It was a pleasure watching the full cast each week and he will be missed by many.