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The late actor and non-parent James Avery will be sorely missed if rumours are correct that The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is making a comeback

By Nina Steele 

James AveryYou know how good a show is when reruns are still very popular, years after the show itself has ended. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which ended its run in 1996, is one of those shows. Not only is it still running on various TV channels, now anyone with a Netflix subscription can watch the entire 6 seasons. I was a huge fan of the show, mainly because it made me laugh a lot and so naturally, it pleases me to read that there may be a revival in the offing. At this stage, these are just rumours, sparked by a photograph of some of the original cast members that was posted online by Alfonso Ribeiro who played Carlton Banks. Shame that James Avery who passed away in December 2013, aged 68, won’t be part of a revival, if indeed there is one.

If like me you were a fan of the show, you will agree that James Avery or ‘Uncle Phil’ as he was known in the show, was one of the characters that stood out, not just because of the central role he played but also because of the man himself. His towering physique and commanding presence made sure of that.

As a teenager watching the show, I didn’t take to him at first, as I found his character rather too strict for my liking. I didn’t quite grasp the significance of the fact that his strictness was necessary in order to instil a new set of values into Will Smith’s character. Watching the show in later years however, made me appreciate him better. Furthermore, his fictional rags to riches background was something to admire. Of course not everyone would agree with his character’s conservative political leanings, but that was also part of his appeal in my view.

Prior to becoming an actor, James Avery ‘served in the Vietnam War as a member of the U.S. Navy from 1968 to 1969’. His acting career began in 1980 and he remained active until his death. He married Barbara Avery in 1988, and the couple were together until the end. He had no children of his own, although his wife has a son from a previous relationship. If the rumours turn out to be correct, I think it is fair to say that the show won’t be quite the same without him.

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