News: "Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air" Star Dies, Cast Member Reacts

Wednesday, Jan 1, 2014 4:16PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Hollywood actor James Avery, most known for his role on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," has reportedly passed away this week at the age of 68.

According to reports, complications during a surgery caused his unexpected death.

Sources close to the actor tell TMZ he died in an Glendale, CA hospital last night. Avery had undergone open heart surgery and took a turn for the worse late yesterday. And we're told ... his wife, Barbara, had been at his bedside but left for a short period of time and when she came back ... she learned he had just died. Avery starred in dozens of TV shows through the years -- shows like "Grey's Anatomy," "The Closer," "L.A. Law," and "The Jeffersons." This past year, he appeared in three TV movies -- most recently, "Go, Bolivia, Go!" -- but didn't appear to have other projects in the works. (TMZ)

Former cast member Alfonso Ribeiro has confirmed the tragic news.

"I'm deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.," Ribeiro tweeted January 1. (Alfonso Ribeiro's Twitter)

The "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" cast reunited at a charity event a few years ago.

Now this is a story all about how... Will Smith posed for a picture with his Fresh Prince co-stars, who played his family in the classic '90s sitcom that launched his career. Although his on-screen mother Janet Hubert-Whitten was absent, Smith seemed excited to meet up with Tatyana Ali (Ashley Banks in the series), Karyn Parsons (Hilary Banks), Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton Banks) and James Avery (Philip Banks). (Metro)

Will Smith's longtime friend Skillz previously spoke to SOHH about ex-cast member Janet Hubert calling out the renowned actor.

"I didn't know Will back then [during 'Fresh Prince of Bel Air' days], I didn't know him personally back then," Skillz told SOHH. "I've heard stories from a couple people in the cast about how she was and I believe it was just that syndrome where she's like, 'I'm a classically trained Broadway actress and here I am on this show with this hip-hop kid.' Some people just don't get that. I call it the J.J. syndrome. You know how J.J. [Evans] was on 'Good Times' and you've got Esther Rolle, John Amos, they come from 'Roots' and classic Broadway acting and you're on a show where people are just waiting for the skinny kid to say, 'Dy-no-mite'? After a while, I can see them getting frustrated. And Will is my man, so anyone who has a problem with Will has a problem with me." (SOHH)

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