US actor James Avery, who played one of my (and millions of others around the world) favourite TV dads of all time, Uncle Phil from the 90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel- Air, passed away yesterday after complications with open heart surgery. It was a very sad way to start the New Year, and of course the tributes have been pouring in, most notably from his TV family on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Alphonso Ribiero, who played James’ onscreen son, confirmed the news many fans were hoping was a hoax (a couple of years ago it was rumoured that James had passed, but it was found to be a ruse), yesterday evening by tweeting:
“I’m deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away.
“He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.”
While Jada Pinkett Smith, who is married to the star of the now defunct sit-com, Hollywood actor Will Smith, posted on Facebook:
“Happy New Year everyone! I was hoping to start the new year differently but we have lost yet another friend.
“James Avery who we all lovingly know as Uncle Phil from The Fresh Prince has passed.
“Our condolences to aunt Florence (his mother), Miss Barbara (his wife) and all those who loved him. Rest in peace James.”
Taytana Ali, who played James’s TV daughter, Ashley Banks also tweeted her condolences, saying: ”James was my teacher my protector & the most magnificent actor. We’re feeling his loss very deeply. He’ll always be a part of me #JamesAvery.”
James Avery served in Vietnam in the US Navy from 1968 to 1969, before he began writing TV scripts and poetry for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). he later appeared in shows such as Greys Anatomy, The Closer and Star Trek: Enterprise, and movies such as Fletch, License to Drive and Doctor Doolittle 2.
A statement issued by his publicist, Tony Benson, said Avery was survived by his wife of 26 years, Barbara, his mother, Florence Avery, and his step-son, Kevin Waters.
The statement added, that James had been working until September 2013 on the Zach Braff film Wish I Was Here, which will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.
Below are some clips of the role that fans will most remember James Avery for… Enjoy!
And here is my favourite ever Uncle Phil moment. This scene always makes me cry and let fans of the show know that the actors (James included) on the show weren’t just good at making us laugh – they could tug at a range of emotions, such was their talents! R.I.P James Avery – Your legacy lives on.
The original Fresh Prince of Bel-Air cast members James Avery (Uncle Phil), Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton), Karyn Parsons (Hilary), Tatyana Ali (Ashley) and Will Smith (Will) met up in Hollywood recently, and fans went crazy when Will promptly posted a picture of the exciting event on his Facebook page (below)!
However, missing from the shot was Joseph Marcel (Butler Geoffery) and Daphne Maxwell Reid (Aunt Viv number 2). Also absent was Janet Hubert, who played the original Aunt Viv. In 1993, she was replaced half way through the shows six year run (in season four), at the time it was said to be due to contract disputes and the audience were none the wiser as to real reason Aunt Viv suddenly changed from dark skinned to light skinned and slim to shapely.
Years later Hubert revealed the real reason she was let go from the show, which was allegedly due to Will Smith’s ‘out-of-control ego’, and the fact that unlike the rest of the cast she didn’t roll over and take it. She also claimed that after she was fired Will blackballed her career as a Hollywood actress, which made it hard for her to get work. In fact so deep were her feelings on the matter she wrote a book Perfection Is Not A Sit-com Mom (2009) detailing her version of events.
All this has now come back into the spotlight after TMZ interviewed Hubert recently about the reunion and she made was clear she hadn’t gotten over things, saying: ‘There will never be a reunion … as I will never do anything with an a**hole like Will Smith.’ She added: ‘He is still an egomaniac and has not grown up. This constant reunion thing will never ever happen in my lifetime unless there is an apology, which he doesn’t know the word.’ Ouch!
Check out two separate interviews done by Janet in the recent years, talking in more detail about the issues she felt led to her getting fired.
As a huge Will Smith fan, I won’t hear a bad word said against the man, but I do feel a little bit sorry for Janet as I guess there are two sides to every story. But it does have to be said that both Tatyana Ali and Alfonso Ribeiro have spoken out on the issue, and both seem to be in favour of Will. Is that coz he holds the most power, or are they just being honest? See below…
Alfonso Ribeiro (now 38) is best known for playing preppy rich kid Carlton Banks on the hit TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, especially with audiences outside of the US. The show, fronted by rapper/actor Will Smith, ended back in 1996. Since then Alfonso has appeared in another TV sit-com fronted by a rapper, this time LL Cool J in In The House. Here he played a character very similar to Carlton (Maxwell Stanton) from 1995-1999.
Spotted over at www.popeater.com this week was an interview with former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actress Karyn Parsons. Karyn, of course played spoilt air-head Hillary Banks. She spoke to the site about reuniting with the FPOB cast, her views on ex-co-star Will Smith’s kids Jaden and Willow being in the spotlight, and what she is currently up to herself. Below is the first part of the interview.
One of the great things I really love about old school TV shows is the theme music. There are some great theme songs from back in the day, which I still can’t get enough of, such as the one from classic 80s US drama The Equalizer (left).
I tried to put together my top 10 themes but ended up with about 30! Then I cut them down again, taking out the shows I have in the pipeline to write posts about.I’m not sure how many I ended up with, about 15 I think, but anyhow below are some of my fave TV theme tunes, from back in the day, in no particular order.
Back in the day male hairstyles were a lot more interesting than they are now. This was probably because people weren’t afraid to look silly in the name of fashion, and then what actually happened was they inadvertedly ended up looking good. Most of the time. Why else would the Jheri curl have caught on? Lol!