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Will Smith Pays Tribute To ‘Fresh Prince’ Uncle James Avery

By | Monday January 6, 2014 @ 10:57am PST

Will Smith James Avery Uncle PhilSunday night Will Smith paid tribute to actor James Avery, who passed away Wednesday following complications from open heart surgery. The 68-year-old Avery had played Uncle Phil to Smith’s onscreen alter ego through six seasons (and two Aunt Vivs) on The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, which aired on NBC from 1990 to 1996 and made a star out of Smith. “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,” Smith wrote on Facebook, posting a photo of the two with Fresh Prince cast mates Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, and Alfonso Ribiero. Ribiero, who played Uncle Phil’s son Carlton on the show, Tweeted his condolences after Avery’s passing on New Year’s Day: “I’m deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.” Tweeted Ali: “James was my teacher my protector & the most magnificent actor. We’re feeling his loss very deeply. He’ll always be a part of me.” Read More »

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R.I.P. Actor James Avery

6th Annual Pageant of the Masters Gala BenefitJames Avery, the actor who played the family patriarch on NBC’s long-running The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, died December 31 in Glendale, CA after complications from open heart surgery, his publicist said today. Avery was 68.  The classically trained actor had just completed shooting what will be his final role: a part in Zach Braff’s Kickstarter-funded indie feature Wish I Was Here, which will premiere later this month at Sundance. Avery was born in Atlantic City in 1945 and eventually served in the Navy in Vietnam. He launched his career in entertainment after settling in San Diego after his discharge writing poetry and TV scrips for PBS, and his acting career began in 1980 with an uncredited role in The Blues Brothers movie, according to IMDb. He went on to FreshPrinceappear in three decades worth of movies and TV shows — from The Jeffersons to LA Law to Grey’s Anatomy on the small screen — and also voiced numerous animated series including playing Shredder on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series in the mid-’80s and ’90s. But it was his role as Uncle Phil on Fresh Prince that put him on the map. The series ran from 1990-1996 and launched the acting career of Will Smith; his fellow Fresh Prince co-star Alfonso Ribeiro was one of the first to send his condolences via Twitter today. … Read More »

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R.I.P. Jeffrey Pollack

By | Thursday December 26, 2013 @ 7:19am PST

Related: Benny Medina On The Death Of Jeff Pollack

medinapollackJeffrey Pollack, who was a writer-producer on the TV series The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, directed the 1997 feature film Booty Call starring Jamie Foxx, wrote and directed the 1994 Tupac Shakur hoops movie Above The Rim and co-founded and ran Handprint Entertainment, has died. He was 54. Pollock was found dead on the greenbelt in Hermosa Beach early Monday while apparently out for a jog. An autopsy is pending. Pollack helped create hit NBC comedy Fresh Prince with friend and business partner Benny Medina, who was the inspiration for the show’s title character played by then-rapper Will Smith. The two also launched and ran a management/production production company together, Median/Pollack Entertainment, which later became Handprint with clients that included Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey and Tyra Banks. Pollack exec produced two Billboard Music Awards in 1992 and 1993, produced the TV documentary Jennifer Lopez In Concert, and worked with Banks on her talk show. He also directed the 1999 romantic comedy Lost & Found starring David Spade and Sophie Marceau.

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