Not the way too start 2014 if you’ve grown up watching the 90s sitcom “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, after TMZ reports that James Avery, who played “Phillip Banks” or “Uncle Phil”, passed away at age 65.
Too young to go. Avery was one of the most popular t.v dads in the 1990s. Everyone who watched Fresh Prince wished they had a father, or an uncle, like Mr.Banks. He had a profound connection to fans, because he was like every other parent who just tried to protect and teach their children.
I think the main reason to why Uncle Phil was beloved on the show, was the fact his character was a rich judge, living in this big house, and had to take care off his nephew “Will Smith”, who was struggling in his hometown of Philadelphia and came in with this hip-hop mentality; nothing compare to Phillip’s son “Carlton Banks”. And through the years, seeing Phillip grow this relationship with Will that went from uncle/nephew, to, father/son was heartwarming to witness.
Some fans of Fresh Prince that are males, who grew up in the rough minority area (like myself) saw how loving Phillip was to Will, who grew up without a father, didn’t have much money and with so much potential but didn’t have the right resources — helped and took care of this kid, as if he was his own son. Those fans admired that and grew love for “Uncle Phil” for bringing hope to those kids. Not many fathers from Bel-Air would do that, in real life.
Avery was and is, probably, the best t.v father-actor ever. The authentic senses of what an everyday dad goes through with their kids, he captured it all. The show could’ve have picked a better father.
I leave you with this clip from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which was to me and a lot of fans, one of the best moments of the show that involved Will’s biological father and Phil trying to keep Will from not getting hurt, again, from his father.
R.I.P Uncle Phil. Thank you for being an uncle and a dad to us fans.