The Hollywood Reporter reports that actor James Avery died on New Years Eve due to complications from open heart surgery; he was 65. Avery was best known to TV audiences as Phillip Banks, Will’s uncle on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He also made appearances on shows like Amen, The Closer, That ’70s Show, and Star Trek: Enterprise.
In voiceover acting, Avery was best known as the voice of the Shredder in the original 1980’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series. He was also the voice of Jim Rhodes, aka War Machine in the 90s Iron Man cartoons. Other voice roles include Sir Bryant in The Legend of Prince Valiant, Turbo in Rambo: The Force of Freedom, Haroud Hazi Bin in Aladdin, and The Junkyard Dog on Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling.
Avery is survived by his wife Barbara, to whom he was married for 26 years; his mother Florence; and his step-son Kevin Waters.