James Avery
James Avery,best known for his role as the wealthy uncle of the young rapper Will Smith in the 1990s television comedy The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, has died at age 65. NBC

James Avery, the actor best known for playing Uncle Phil in 90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, has died aged 68.

His publicist Cynthia Snyder confirmed that he died in California from complications associated with open-heart surgery.

Although the star appeared in a vast number of films and TV shows during his lifetime, it was his role as wayward Will Smith's serious yet caring uncle that made him a household name.

The sitcom, which ran on NBC for six years, focused mainly on the clash of cultures between the refined lifestyle of Philip Banks and his free-spirited and street-smart nephew from West Philadelphia.

He was often the brunt of Smith's jokes but his firm-but-fair parenting approach made him one of the best TV father-figure characters of all time.

IBTimes UK take a look back at a few of Uncle Phil's finest scenes.