James Avery
Name: James La Rue Avery
Born: November 27, 1945
Died: December 31, 2013
Place of death: Glendale, California, U.S.
Occupation: actor, poet
Years active: 1980-2013
Known for: the voice of Shredder on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and for playing as Philip Banks (a.k.a Uncle Phil) from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
James La Rue Avery (November 27, 1945-December 31, 2013) was an American actor, best known for his portrayal of the patriarch and attorney (later judge) Philip Banks (a.k.a Uncle Phil), Will Smith's characters uncle on the 1990-96 sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. This character was ranker #34 in TV Guide's "50 Greatest Dad's of All-Time". He also provided the voice of Shredder In the original 1987-93 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles television series, as well as War Machine in the 1994-95 animated Iron Man and Junkyard Dog in the 1985 animated series Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling. He also played Michael Kelso's commanding officer at the police academy late in the run on That 70's Show.

Life and CareerEdit

Avery was born in 1945 Pughsville, Suffolk County, Virginia and raised in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He served in the Vietnam War as a member of the U.S. Navy from 1968 until 1969, after graduating High School. Later on, he moved to San Diego, California where he began to write poetry and TV scripts. In addition to his fame in sitcoms, he did voice acting for many animated series, most notable the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series (as the voice of Shredder) and James Rhodes (a.k.a War Machine) in the 1990s Iron Man series. He also performed in the single season production of Captain Simian and the Space Monkey as Gor-illa, a loveable, simple and bi-polar gorilla. He was the primary host of Going Places, a popular travel and adventure series on PBS. He also guest starred in That 70's Show as Officer Kennedy. In 2000, he guest starred in the "Unfriendly Skies" episode of CSI as Preston Cash, a legally-blind witness to a murder assists the CSI team with a near flawless verbal account of what he heard on board the flight. Avery played a Los Angeles County Medical Examiner, Dr. Crippen (who has recently appeared in a wheelchair), on the TNT series The Closer. In 2004, he guest starred on the TV series That's So Raven where he played an entrepreneur. He also appeared in a 2005 episode of My Wife and Kids as Jay's reluctant professor. He was cast in the short-lived 2009 Lifetime sitcom Sherri, starring Sherri Shepherd, playing her father.

Most recently, Avery wrapped up production on Valediction, which could began its film festival circuit as early as October 2011. He played the role of Edward, the husband of co-star Bonnie Bartlett. In addition, he starred in a 2012 role on the TV series Grey's Anatomy, playing a distraught spouse to his brain-dead partner who was a patient.

In game shows, he appeared on: Match Game, Street Smarts (in 2003 as a contestants the later as celebrity co-host in 2004), The Singing Bee and Catch 21 (opposite his former Fresh Prince co-star Alfonso Ribeiro).

Personal LifeEdit

He married his wife Barbara in 1988. He had no children on his own, but was a stepfather to his wife's son, Kevin Waters.


On December 31, 2013, Avery died at the age of 68 from complications following open heart surgery in a Los Angeles Hospital.

Shows appearedEdit

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