A Father That Knows Best: James Avery (1 of 7)

In honor of Father’s Day I decided to highlight the famous fathers of television and film.

James Avery

The “Father Who Knows Best” is James Avery. Ill tempered but enduring, Avery’s character Phillip Banks provided a no nonsense humor that complimented the homeboy antics of Will Smith almost instinctively. He was lovable yet fearsome. He was Uncle Phil.

Born James L. Avery in Atlantic City, New Jersey, he enlisted in the  United States Navy shortly after graduating high school and even did a brief tour in the  Vietnam War from 1968 to 1969.

“After he left the military, Avery moved to San Diego and began writing TV scripts and poetry for PBS. He won an Emmy Award for his production during his term at PBS”.

Soon after, he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theater and Literature and began landing a slew small roles in popular T.V. shows and movies such as The Jeffersons, Hill Street Blues, The Dukes of Hazzard, L.A. Law, The Blues Brothers & Fletch. He even did voice work providing the voice of Shredder in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

He wasn’t casted for his most famous role, Phillip Banks on  The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, until 1990. When he wasn’t spoiling his daughter Hilary or smacking Will upside the back of his head, he occupied his downtime by violently tossing  Jazz out the front door.  His character was ranked #34 in TV Guide‘s “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time”. 

The show ended in 1996 but Avery has continue to snag roles in numerous shows and films, most notably the moderately successful UPN sitcom Sparks as Alonzo Sparks and the box office smash Transformers 3 as Silverbolt.

Avery is an extremely accomplished voice actor. He resume includes The Prince of Egypt, Duckman, The Wild Thornberrys, Pepper Ann, The Proud Family, and much more.