Will Smith is finally speaking out for the first time about the death of his former co-star from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air James Avery.
Smith and Avery appeared together in the sitcom Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for six seasons from 1990 to 1996. Avery played as Uncle Phil on the sitcom and Smith played a perfect role on the series in an upper-class neighborhood.
On Smith’s Facebook account he left some words of wisdom, “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 posted those words along with a photo with other fellow co-stars Alfonso Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons and Tatyana Ali. At the top of the photo Smith added, “This photo was the last time we were together.”
Avery died on New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles after suffering complications during open heart surgery. He was 68 years of age. He was once ranked on TV Guide as Avery’s Uncle Phil at No. 34 on its list of the 50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time.
Avery is also remembered as the voice of Shredder on the animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. Shortly after Avery death was announced, Ribeiro tweeted, “I’m deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.”