The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air cast paid an emotional tribute to James Avery, aka Uncle Phil, during the show’s recent reunion.
The majority of the cast came together – virtually, of course – for a two-part reunion via Will Smith’s new Snapchat show, Will From Home, which Smith launched earlier this month as a way to keep people entertained while social distancing.
However, there was one person missing from the reunion. James Avery, who played Uncle Phil, passed away in 2013 at the age of 68 from complications following an open heart surgery.
It was the first time the cast has reunited on-screen since the much-loved NBC sitcom ended May 1996. In other words, it’s been 24 long years since the gang was on our screens and Smith couldn’t have chosen a better way to wrap up his Snapchat show.
Watch the touching tribute below:
Featuring in the reunion was Smith himself along with his on-screen cousins, Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton Banks), Tatyana Ali (Ashley Banks) and Karyn Parsons (Hilary Banks).
The Banks’ adored butler Geoffrey, played by Joseph Marcell, also made an appearance, alongside Daphne Maxwell Reid (Vivian Banks) and DJ Jazzy Jeff – who of course went by his own name in Fresh Prince.
Judging by the cast’s memories of the late actor, Avery’s death evidently left a huge hole in the 90’s sitcom family, with the finale featuring a homage to him as tribute.
The former castmates watched lovingly as Smith played a series of clips of Avery as Uncle Phil, including the emotional scene where Will asks him: ‘How come he don’t want me, man?’ about his father.
As the clips turn from funny to emotional, the group can be seen getting tearful as Smith says: ‘That just makes me teary. The first couple of times I’m seeing clips of James, you know.’
We then saw a series of black and white images of the cast with James behind the scenes, with Daphne saying, ‘I loved that man’. Joseph then added: ‘As James would say, solid!’
The episode featured clips from the show, with viewers able to see the cast reminiscing about their time on the sitcom. Joseph Marcell recalled instantly clicking with the cast while shooting the very first pilot episode, in particular with James Avery.
Coming to do the audition, spending that few moments with Avery standing outside smoking a cigarette, coming in, meeting you. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t apprehensive. It just seemed natural and I enjoyed it. It’s special. It is, no matter what anybody says, it is special.
Smith’s show has proved extremely popular since he launched it at the beginning of April, attracting 15 million unique viewers in the first three episodes alone. And I can imagine that after today’s, that number will be rapidly rising.
As well as the Fresh Prince cast, other guests have included supermodel Tyra Banks, Kevin James, Guy Fieri, Johnny Knoxville, Smith’s son Jaden, and even Dr. Anthony Fauci – head of the National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases.
This was the final episode of the series but if you’ve missed them, you can catch up here.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
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