New York Times writer Peter Keepnews in a January 2014 report of the passing of James Avery said he played Philip Banks, a wealthy lawyer (later a judge) who becomes a surrogate father to his street-smart nephew, played by Mr. Smith, on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” seen on NBC from 1990 to 1996.
According to Wikipedia, Avery was raised in Atlantic City, New Jersey and served in the Vietnam War as a member of the U.S. Navy from 1968 to 1969, after graduating high school.
Later on, Avery moved to San Diego, California, where he began to write poetry and TV scripts for PBS, according to Wikipedia.
Avery won an Emmy for production during his tenure there and then received a scholarship to UC San Diego, where he attended Thurgood Marshall College (then Third College), earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in drama and literature.
"Mr. Avery played Philip Banks, a wealthy lawyer (later a judge) who becomes a surrogate father to his street-smart nephew, played by Mr. Smith, on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” seen on NBC from 1990 to 1996.
Reviewing the show in The New York Times early in its first season, John J. O’Connor said Mr. Smith — at the time a popular rapper just beginning his acting career — was “frequently overshadowed by the rest of the cast, particularly James Avery as the father and Karyn Parsons as the older daughter, Hilary" according to New Times writer Peter Keepnews.
Avery died of complications due to heart surgery in 2014. He was 68-years-old according to writer Peter Keepsnews.
**INFORMATION & IMAGE CREDIT:** Wikipedia, New York Times writer Mr. Peter Keepnews
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