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Will Smith pays tribute to James Avery, 'Fresh Prince' co-star

From left, James Avery as Philip Banks, Will

From left, James Avery as Philip Banks, Will Smith as William "Will" Smith and Janet Hubert as Vivian Banks the "Def Poet's Society" episode of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." Credit: AP

Five days after the death of James Avery, Will Smith has paid tribute to his late co-star from "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."

"Some of my greatest lessons in acting, living and being a respectable human being came through James Avery," Smith posted on his Facebook page late Sunday night.

Avery, who died Dec. 31 at age 68 of complications from open heart surgery, played Smith's well-to-do uncle, Philip Banks, an attorney and later, a judge.

"Every young man needs an Uncle Phil," Smith continued. "Rest in Peace."

Accompanying the post was an undated photograph of Smith with Avery and fellow co-stars Tatyana M. Ali, Karyn Parsons and Alfonso Ribeiro, captioned, "This photo was the last time we were together."

In the 1990-96 NBC sitcom, Smith played Will Smith, a trouble-prone but good-hearted West Philadelphia teen sent to live with his aunt and uncle in the affluent Los Angeles neighborhood.

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