Will Smith Pays Tribute to 'Fresh Prince' Co-Star James Avery

Actor Will Smith used his official Facebook page to pay tribute to his fictional TV Uncle, James Avery, who passed away last week at the age of 68.

The 'Fresh Prince' star posted a photo of a recent cast reunion along with the caption, "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 added: "This photo was the last time we were together""

Avery recently underwent open heart surgery and died of complications from the operation. His '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!".

Alfonso Ribeiro, who portrayed Avery's son on "Fresh Prince" posted a message on his Facebook page commenting on the loss: "The world has lost a truly special man. I am very sad 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."

Click here to read more celebrity tributes to James Avery.

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