Fast Facts

  • Joined the Navy after graduating high school and served in Vietnam.
  • Settled in San Diego after leaving the Navy, writing scripts for PBS and eventually earning a scholarship to study at the University of California.
  • His character Philip Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was ranked #34 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time.
  • Has a scholarship in his name at Thurgood Marshall College at UC San Diego.


  • Barbara Avery — Wife
  • Florence Avery — Mother
  • Kevin Waters — Stepson


  • University of California, San Diego, California, United States (BA in Drama and Literature, 1976)

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  • Birth Name: James La Rue Avery
  • Birth Place: Pughsville, Virginia, United States
  • Died: December 31, 2013
  • Profession: Actor

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