Melissa Joan Hart & More Pay Tribute to James Avery

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As BWW previously reported, James Avery, best known as patriarch Philip Banks on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" has passed away at age 68. The actor recently underwent open heart surgery and died of complications from the operation.

Yesterday, celebrities took to Twitter to pay homage to the actor:

Alfonso Ribeiro (@alfonso_ribeiro): I'm deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.

Tia Mowry (@TiaMowry): RIP James Avery! You will always be America's favorite television dad.

Melissa Joan Hart (@MelissaJoanHart): RIP! Thanks for the laughs. RT @cnnbrk: James Avery, star of 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,' dies at 68.

CedEntertainer (@CedEntertainer): Just saw the news James Avery passed. He was a talented and kind gentleman. Rest in peace. #UnclePhil

Tatyana Ali (@TatyanaAli): James was my teacher my protector & the most magnificent actor. We're feeling his loss very deeply. He'll always be apart of me #JamesAvery

Tyra Banks (@tyrabanks): 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.

Zach Braff (@zachbraff): James Avery was a very funny and smart man. He did a cameo as a favor to me in WIWH and had the entire set rolling with laughter. RIP.

Avery's 'Fresh Prince' character Philip Banks was ranked #34 in TV Guide's "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time." The actor also provided The Voice of Shredder in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles television series, as well as War Machine in the animated series Iron Man and Junkyard Dog in Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling. He played Michael Kelso's commanding officer at the police academy late in the series run of the popular sitcom That '70s Show.

Avery made guest appearances on "Grey's Anatomy," "The Closer," "L.A. Law," and "The Jeffersons" and appeared in three TV movies, most recently, "Go, Bolivia, Go!".

Two years ago, he reunited with most of his "Fresh Prince" cast, including Will Smith, at a charity event.

Source: USA Today

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