James Avery, who portrayed the commanding yet cuddly father figure on the hit 1990s sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," died at a Glendale hospital Tuesday of complications from open heart surgery. He was 65.
His death was confirmed by his manager, Toni Benson.
Although trained as a Shakespearean actor, Avery won his widest audience in the role of Judge Philip Banks — "Uncle Phil" — on "Fresh Prince," which aired on NBC from 1990 to 1996.
Ranked No. 34 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time, the Navy veteran's stern, straight-arrow character provided a foil for series star Will...