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Los Angeles (AFP) – U.S. actor James Avery, most famous as Uncle Phil in hit 1990s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” died on New Year’s Eve aged 68, his publicist said.

With a deep baritone voice, Avery regularly played judges, professors or doctors in TV shows in the 1980s and 90s, as well as extensive voice work, including on animated projects.

His first big-screen role was an uncredited part in 1980s classic “The Blues Brothers,” and he enjoyed a prolific TV and movie career stretching over three decades.

But the role most people will remember him for is as Philip Banks on the 1990s NBC series, who played a role model to the young Will Smith’s character, a fictionalized rapper version of himself.

“I’m deeply saddened to say James Avery has passed away,” his “Fresh Prince” co-star Alfonso Ribeiro tweeted. “He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.”

Born James LaRue Avery in Virginia and raised in New Jersey, he had worked until September, shooting the film “Wish I Was Here” directed by Zach Braff, which will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this month.

Avery died late Tuesday in hospital in Glendale, outside Los Angeles, “due to complications from open heart surgery,” his publicist Cynthia Snyder told AFP in an email.

He is survived by his wife of 26 years, Barbara Avery, his mother Florence Avery, and his stepson Kevin Waters. Plans are being made for a memorial service, the spokeswoman said.

AFP Photo/Mark Mainz

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WFormer President Trump, right, and former Attorney General William Barr

Reprinted with permission from Press Run

Stunning new abuse-of-power revelations remind us of the Trump administration's complete disregard for democratic principles. We now know that over a span of years it took extraordinary legal measures, including gag orders and secret tribunals, in pursuit of email records from reporters at CNN and the Washington Post. Team Trump also unleashed the courts on Democratic members of Congress and their families trying to obtain private phone records, as well as secretly targeting a key White House attorney, who possibly fell under suspicion for not being sufficiently loyal to Trump.

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