Tatyana Ali reflected about the death of her Fresh Prince of Bel-Air costar James Avery, who passed away on December 31st at the age of 68. Tatyana was just a little girl when she first appeared on the hit TV show back in 1990 along with Avery, but she remembers the impact his presence had on her to this very day.
Ali played the role of Ashley Banks on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air–the youngest of Philip Banks’ children. James Avery played Philip Banks. This no doubt added to the impact of Avery’s death on Ali. Avery was–at least for a good portion of her life–a father figure to her.
Tatyana Ali expressed her grief and her overwhelming appreciation for James Avery and the vital role he once played in her life via two Twitter messages. Her expressions likely served as a means of processing the sudden and unexpected loss.
James was my teacher my protector & the most magnificent actor. We're feeling his loss very deeply. He'll always be apart of me #JamesAvery
— Tatyana Ali (@TatyanaAli) January 1, 2014
A poem of friendship by Nikki Giovanni: We are not lovers because of the love we make but the love we have pic.twitter.com/H0HhqmEwjo
— Tatyana Ali (@TatyanaAli) January 2, 2014
James Avery is survived by his wife, Barbara, as well as by his mother and a stepson. In addition he is survived by the young people who starred alongside him on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Tatyana Ali is just one of those young people–Will Smith is another–mourning the actor’s untimely passing, but also profoundly impacted by his influence on her life.