Friends Mourn "Fresh Prince's" "Uncle Phil"

(Undated) -- Tributes continue to pour in for the man Will Smith called "Uncle Phil" on "The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air."
Veteran actor James Avery, best remembered for playing no-nonsense judge Phillip Banks on the 1990s TV sitcom passed away on New Year's Eve. He was 68. Avery's publicist says the actor, whose credits also included roles on "Grey's Anatomy" and "The Closer," died from complications from recent heart surgery. Smith's wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith, posted a message of condolence on her Facebook page, saying they had lost yet another friend. Avery's death came a week after "Fresh Prince" producer Jeffrey Ian Pollock died while jogging near his home in Hermosa Beach.
"Fresh Prince" cast member Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Avery's son Carlton, wrote on Twitter that he was "deeply saddened" by Avery's death. He said Avery was "a second father to me." And Tatyana Ali, who played Avery's daughter Ashley on the sitcom called him her teacher, her protector and the most magnificent actor.