James Avery of 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' fame dead at 68

James Avery as Philip Banks from season 2 of the TV series "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." Avery, 65, the bulky character actor who laid down the law as the Honorable Philip Banks has died. Avery's publicist, Cynthia Snyder, told The Associated Press that Avery died Tuesday.

NEW YORK - James Avery, the character actor who laid down the law as the Honorable Philip Banks in "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," has died.

Avery's publicist, Cynthia Snyder, told The Associated Press that Avery died Tuesday in Glendale, Calif., following complications from open heart surgery. He was 68, Snyder said.

Avery played Will Smith's uncle on the popular TV series. His movie credits included "Fletch," "The Prince of Egypt" and "8 Million Ways to Die."