James LaRue Avery (November 27, 1945 – December 31, 2013) was an American actor. He was best known for his role in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as the stern but loving head of the Banks household, Phillip Banks. Avery also provided the voice of Shredder in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which aired from 1987 to 1996.
In his early life, Avery joined the US Navy, where he was deployed to the Vietnam War. He later claimed his military experience was an important part of getting him to grow up. When his enlistment was over, Avery traveled to England where he studied drama, in particular Shakespeare.
On December 31, 2013, Avery passed away at the age of 68 from complications following open-heart surgery. He was survived by his wife, Barbara Avery, his stepson, Kevin Waters, and his mother, Florence Avery. Avery is the first main cast member of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to pass away.
- James Avery on Wikipedia