This is a story all about how a beloved ’90s cast didn’t let COVID get them down. But they did get emotional remembering their late colleague. Will Smith and the rest of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air stars had a social distancing reunion. It’s the first time they’ve all been together, in any form, since the popular sitcom went off the air in 1996. And while they reminisced about the good times they had working on the show together, the most powerful moment came when they paid tribute to the late James Avery who played Uncle Phil.
Will Smith hosted his former Fresh Prince colleagues (which we first heard about at The AV Club) on his recently launched Snapchat show Will From Home. Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton Banks), Tatyana Ali (Ashley Banks), DJ Jazzy Jeff (Jazz), Karyn Parsons (Hilary Banks), Joseph Marcell (Geoffrey), and Daphne Maxwell Reid (the second Aunt Vivian) all zoomed in to be a part of the long overdue reunion. But it was impossible not to feel the absence of the Banks’ family’s patriarch, Uncle Phil. The great James Avery passed away in 2013 and he was a huge reason the show remains an all-time classic. As Smith wrote on Instagram, “Our show wouldn’t have been HALF what it was without the talent and light that was James Avery. We all love and miss you, James.”
That love was on full display when the cast honored their TV dad. Clearly, viewers weren’t the only ones who loved Uncle Phil. Just like the show’s stars weren’t the only one who teared up remembering him. For ’90s kids he was—and always will be—the best TV dad ever.
The two part series featured plenty of lighthearted moments, though. That included its star sharing the story about how Alfonso Ribeiro wisely told a young Will Smith that his character should be called “Will Smith.”
That was some sage advice. But since we know his father, we’re not surprised Carlton Banks turned out so smart.
Featured Image: NBC/Snapchat