Will Smith pays tribute to Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-star James Avery

Published Tuesday, Jan 7 2014, 11:28 GMT  |  By  |  1 comment
Will Smith has paid a touching tribute to his fellow Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star James Avery, who passed away last week.

Will, who played James' on-screen nephew in the 90s American sitcom, wrote a heartfelt message on Facebook yesterday (6 January).

Will Smith at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center on August 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
08/26/2013. New York, United States

© Andres Otero/WENN.com

James Avery at the Trumpet Awards 2007 held at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada - 22.01.07

© Chris Connor / WENN

"Some of my greatest lessons in acting, living and being a respectable human being came through James Avery," said 45-year-old Will.

Referring to James' Fresh Prince character, Will added: "Every young man needs an Uncle Phil. Rest in Peace."

James, who played judge Philip Banks in more than 140 episodes of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, died at the age of 68 on New Year's Eve (31 December) after reportedly suffering complications following heart surgery.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - NBC.
1990 - 1996.
Cast picture of Will Smith, James Avery, Alfonso Ribeiro

© Rex Features

Since James' passing, other co-stars have also paid tribute. Alfonso Ribeiro, who played his son Carlton, explained that James was like a "second father" to him.

Tatyana Ali, who played his daughter Ashley, and Will's actress wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, also paid their respects.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air aired from 1990 to 1996 on America's NBC network. James is survived by his wife of 26 years, Barbara Avery and his mother, Florence Avery.
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