Characters of Color: James Avery

Monetary success is not success. Career success is not success. Life, someone that loves you, giving to others, doing something that makes you feel complete and full. That is success. And it isn’t dependent on anyone else.

In the final day of the last year James Avery died during open heart surgery; a true actor and scholar he begins our month of characters of color. Sure everyone knew he was the well to-do judge ‘Uncle Phil’ from the legendry Fresh Prince of ‘Bel Air’ and voiced the infamous ‘Shedder’ of TMNT fame but those were only few parts he played as Avery did an astounding amount of roles throughout his career. A Different World, The Real Ghost Busters, Aladdin (TV Series), The Prince of Egypt, Star Trek: Enterprise, That ’70s Show, Quack Pack (TV Series), The Brady Bunch Movie, Captain Simian & The Space Monkeys (TV Series), Dallas (TV Series), Fist of the North Star, Kinect Disneyland Adventures (Video Game), Night Court (TV Series), Newhart (TV Series), Grey’s Anatomy (TV Series), and many, many, more forms of media entertainment  all had one thing in common – James Avery. Also more than the sum of his roles: he was also a writer, poet, in the Navy during the Vietnam War, and touched the lives of his long time cast mates. People we didn’t just lose a actor, we lost an icon – we’ll be hard pressed to find another with his same caliber, spirit, and wisdom. He died at 68.