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|This article is written from the Real World perspective|
|Born|| James LaRue Avery|
November 27, 1948
|Died|| December 31, 2013 (Age 68)|
|Characters played|| War Machine|
James LaRue Avery (born November 27, 1948; died December 31, 2013) is an American actor who played War Machine, Whirlwind, and Blacklash on the first season of Iron Man. He reprised War Machine on Spider-Man along with Robert Hays, despite already being replaced by Dorian Harewood on Iron Man.
He is most well known as the voice of villain Shredder on the 1987 series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and patriarch Philip Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air playing the father of fellow Spider-Man actor Alfonso Ribeiro.
Avery was born in Pughsville, Virginia on November 27, 1948. He was raised in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
At some point, he began suffering from diabetes. 
He left home at the age of eighteen because, as he said, "I had too good a time." 
In 1969, Avery received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the Virginia State University.
Because of his large size, he was six feet and five inches tall, and deep voice Avery was frequently cast in professional roles such as judges, professors, and doctors. He played judges on 1983's Webster, 1984's Night Court, 1986's L.A. Law, and 1995's Murder One.
His first film role was a dancing man in the film The Blues Brothers.
He would appear in a single episode of The Jeffersons, which his sitcom would later reference frequently. He made several appearances in the police drama Hill Street Blues. He voiced main character Turbo in the animated series Rambo: The Force of Freedom.
Avery played a detective in the police comedy Fletch.
He had a recurring role as Winslow in the series Beauty and the Beast.
His longest role was as the main villain Shredder in the 1987 series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The series was much lighter in tone as compared to the comics, but helped propel the franchise into mainstream consciousness. He played the role for seven seasons, with fellow Iron Man actors Harewood and Jim Cummings filling in some episodes before being replaced with Townsend Coleman.
In 1988, he played Les' DMV Examiner in the film License to Drive.
Avery married his wife Barbara in 1988 and stayed together until his death.
He and Harewood would both play Sir Bryant on the animated series The Legend of Prince Valiant based on the comic strip.
The most famous role for Avery was as lawyer-turned-judge Philip Banks on the six seasons series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He played the father of Ribeiro's Carlton and uncle of the title character Will Smith, played by rapper-turned-actor Will Smith. Avery's Banks was often angry at Smith for his lifestyle but always loving and there for him.
He voiced The Shaman in Gargoyles.
Avery voiced War Machine for the first five episodes "And The Sea Shall Give Up Its Dead", "Rejoice! I Am Ultimo, Thy Deliverer", "Data In, Chaos Out", "Silence My Companion, Death My Destination", and "The Grim Reaper Wears A Teflon Coat". He also voiced Whirlwind from the beginning through the episode "Iron Man To The Second Power, Part Two" as well as Blacklash.
When War Machine and Iron Man appeared on the Spider-Man episodes "Venom Returns" and "Carnage", Avery was brought in to voice the character alongside Robert Hays, even though Harewood was voicing Tombstone on the series.
He went on to star in the HBO film Dancing in September, about African-Americans trying to make a television series.
He rejoined with Howard for recurring role on the Showtime series Soul Food. It was the longest running drama with a predominantly black cast in the history of North American prime-time television.
Avery played Eldon on the 2001 film Dr. Dolittle 2.
Avery made guest appearances on the crime drama The Division.
He was considered for a role in the 2005 film The Devil's Rejects.
He had a recurring role as Officer Kennedy in the later seasons of That '70s Show.
His wife is the Dean of Students at Occidental College in Los Angeles.
He has worked on stage. He played the title role in Othello for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He also played the Back Alley and Met Theatres in Los Angeles as well as other locations across the country.
In 2007, he interviewed with the New York Film Academy saying, "You can either be a movie star or an actor. I'm an actor. (But) I've done pretty good."
On November 11, 2013, Avery underwent open heart surgery. Following the surgery, he was said to be "practically living" at the hospital.
On December 31, 2013, Avery died in Glendale, California following complications from his surgery. He was sixty-eight years old. His mother said, "It breaks my heart. My child was a great person who helped anyone he could. He was really just a nice person whose great passion in life was reading."
Ribeiro stated on his Facebook page, "The world has lost a truly special man. I am very saddened to say that James Avery has passed. Even though he played my father on TV, he was a wonderful father figure to me in life. He will be deeply missed."
Avery is survived by his wife of twenty-six years, Barbara, and his mother, Florence Avery. While he had no children of his own, he has a stepson named Kevin Waters.
- ↑ James Avery, 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' star, dies at 68 at NBC News
- ↑ James Avery, ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ star, dies at 68 at NY Daily News
- ↑ Film School NYFA - Guest Lecture - James Avery Part 1 at YouTube
- ↑ Unscripted: James Avery at YouTube
- ↑ James Avery, star of 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,' dies at 68 at CNN
- ↑ James Avery, ‘Fresh Prince’ Actor, Dies at 68 at The New York Times
- ↑ 'Fresh Prince' Star James Avery Died at 68 at ABC News
- ↑ James Avery at TBS.com
- ↑ James Avery at The History Makers
- ↑ TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time at Internet Movie Database
- ↑ James Avery, Uncle on "Fresh Prince," Dead at 68 at NBC Los Angeles