Although the presence of James Avery was sorely-missed on Will Smith's virtual cast reunion for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air this week, the late actor's former co-stars remembered Avery with a moving tribute during the program. As a fan favorite for so many viewers who remember watching the series in the '90s, Avery was such an important part of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and seeing him absent from this week's reunion has fans across the world missing him that much more. You can watch the tribute video below.
In the classic comedy series, James Avery starred as Uncle Phil, the man who takes in Will to live in Bel-Air with the rest of the Banks family. Although Will's antics would often drive Uncle Phil out of his mind, the love between the two characters was always very clear. In fact, perhaps the most memorable moment from the entire series comes when Phil hugs Will tightly after the teenager's distant father chooses to abandon him once again. Picture that scene in your head will be all it takes to have your eyes tearing up. Sadly, Avery died in 2013 following complications from open-heart surgery, and over six years later, his co-stars and fans still remember him very fondly.
This week, Smith hosted a Fresh Prince reunion for his Will at Home Snapchat show, featuring nearly every other cast member who appeared with Smith on the sitcom. Of course, they all took some time to remember Avery on the program, reflecting back on their time working with the late actor and their memories of his performance as Uncle Phil. A moving tribute video was also played, highlighting some of Avery's most memorable quotes and moments during the years he hilariously played the classic character. It's clearly very emotional for the Fresh Prince cast, and fans of the series can still feel the sting of Avery's loss as well.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air aired originally between 1990 and 1996, consisting of 148 episode across six seasons. With Will Smith starring as a fictionalized version of himself, the rest of the ensemble cast included Avery, Daphne Maxwell Reid, Alfonso Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons, Tatyana M. Ali, and Joseph Marcell. Besides Avery, all of these cast members appeared for the Will from Home reunion, marking the first time the cast had reunited on-screen since 1996. Janet Hubert-Whitten, who originally played Aunt Viv before she was replaced by Reid, was also not present for the reunion.
With nearly every other successful series from the past getting an updated version in recent years, there have been many rumors about a new Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot going into the works. However, Alfonso Ribeiro doesn't seem very confident this will happen, noting that there's no way a revival would feel complete with having an appearance from Uncle Phil. "Without him, everything that Will and Carlton did would mean nothing," Ribeiro said in 2018. Lots of Fresh Prince fans likely agree. The tribute video for Avery from Smith's Will from Home Snapchat show comes to us courtesy of ET Canada on YouTube.