James L. Avery, Sr. (born November 27, 1948) is an American actor best known for his portrayal of the patriarch and attorney (later judge) Philip Banks in the TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, whom Will Smith's character affectionately called "Uncle Phil". This character was ranked #34 in TV Guide's "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time". He also provided the voice of Shredder in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles television series, as well as War Machine in the animated series Spider-Man. He also played Michael Kelso's officer at the police academy late in the series run of the popular sitcom That '70s Show.
Avery was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He joined the United States Navy shortly after high school graduation and served in the Vietnam War from 1968 to 1969. After he left the military, Avery moved to San Diego and began writing TV scripts and poetry for PBS. He won an Emmy Award for his production during his term at PBS and was awarded a scholarship to University of California, San Diego. Avery earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theater and Literature at the university and graduated in 1976.
An imposing figure standing at 6'4" (1.95 m), he often plays characters in legal or high-level professional fields. In addition to his fame in sitcoms, he did voice acting for many animated series, most notably the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series (as the voice of The Shredder) and James Rhodes in the 1990s Iron Man series. He has been the primary host of Going Places, a popular travel and adventure series on PBS. He also guest starred in That '70s Show as Officer Kennedy. In 2000, he guest starred in the "Unfriendly Skies" episode of CSI as Preston Cash, a legally-blind witness to a murder who assists the CSI team with a near-flawless verbal account of what he heard onboard the flight. Avery recently played a Los Angeles County Medical Examiner, Dr. Crippen, (who has recently appeared in a wheelchair), on the TNT series The Closer. In 2004, he guest starred on the television series That's So Raven where he played an entrepreneur. He also appeared in a 2005 episode of My Wife and Kids as Jay's reluctant professor. He was cast in the new sitcom Sherri, starring Sherri Shepherd playing her father.
He is frequently mistaken for fellow actor Reginald VelJohnson and vice versa, a joke that was played out on episodes of VelJohnson's sitcom Family Matters as well as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
|1980||The Blues Brothers||Man Dancing||Uncredited Role|
|The Stunt Man|
|Appointment With Fear||Connors|
|1986||Fist of the North Star||Fang||Voice Role|
|The Eleventh Commandment||Larry|
|8 Million Ways to Die||Deputy D.A.|
|The Ladies Club||Joe|
|1987||Deadly Daphne's Revenge||Det. Wood|
|Three for the Road||Clarence|
|1988||License to Drive||Les' DMV Examiner|
|1991||The Linguini Incident||Phil|
|Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time||Lt. Coberly|
|Shout||Midnight Rider||Voice Role|
|1993||Little Miss Millions||Agent Noah Hollander|
|1995||The Brady Bunch Movie||Mr. Steve Yeager|
|1997||Spirit Lost||Dr. Glidden|
|The Prince of Egypt||Additional Voices||Voice Role|
|You Lucky Dog||Calvin Bridges|
|Out in Fifty||Cappy|
|2000||Dancing in September||Mr. Warner|
|2001||Chasing Sunsets||Mr. Burken|
|Dr. Dolittle 2||Eldon|
|2004||Raise Your Voice||Mr. Gantry|
|Hair Show||Seymour Gold|
|The Third Wish||George|
|A Christmas Wish||Saint||Short film|
|2006||Restraining Order||Judge Sanderson|
|Think Tank||Uncle John|
|2007||Who's Your Caddy?||Caddy Mack|
|Divine Intervention||Rev. Matthews|
|2008||His Good Will||Mr. Cooper||Short film|
|Leave with It||Dr. Leon|
|2009||Let the Game Begin||Mark Hanley|
|Steppin: The Movie||The Chancellor|
|The Grind||Modelo Snipes||filming|
|2011||Transformers: The Dark of the Moon||Silverbolt||Voice, fliming|
|1983||Antony and Cleopatra||Mardian||TV-Movie|
|Tales of the Gold Monkey||Gabriel||Episode: "God Save the Queen"|
|Newhart||Construction Guy||Episode: "Heaven Knows Mr. Utley"|
|The Jeffersons||Coleman||"Episode: Father Christmas"|
|1983, 1984||Simon & Simon|| Huey|
| Episode: "Red Dog Blues"|
Episode: "Harm's Way"
|1984||Hill Street Blues||Tolliver|| "Episode: Ratman and Bobbin"|
"Episode: Nichols from Heaven"
"Episode: Fuchs Me? Fuchs You!"
|Legmen||No Neck||Episode: "I Shall Be Re-Released"|
|Hardcastle and McCormick||Episode: "Scared Stiff"|
|Webster||Judge||Episode: "Webster Long (2)"|
|Fist of the North Star||Fang||Voice Role|
|The Dukes of Hazzard||Charlie||Episode: "Cool Hands, Luke & Bo"|
|1984, 1985||Brothers||Bubba Dean|| Episode: "You Brought A New Kind of Love To Me"|
Episode: "The Strangers"
|1985||Street Hawk||Councilman Waters||Episode: "Street Hawk" (Pilot)|
|St. Elsewhere||Mental Patient||Episode: "Give the Boy a Hand"|
|Cagney & Lacey||Episode: "Who Says It's Fair" (1)|
|Scarecrow and Mrs. King||Nabuti||Episode: "Murder Between Friends"|
|Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling||Junkyard Dog||Voice Role|
|George Burns Comedy Week||Episode: "The Assignment"|
|The A-Team||Episode: "The Heart of Rock n' Roll"|
|Moonlighting||Reuben King||Episode: "Twas the Episode Before Christmas"|
|1986||Karate Kommandos||Additional Voices||Voice Role|
|Amazing Stories||Chief Hansen||Episode: "Hell Toupee"|
|Rambo and the Forces of Freedom||Turbo||Voice Role|
|Samaritan: The Mitch Snyder Movie||Hank Dudney||TV-Movie|
|1986, 1989||The Real Ghostbusters|| Killerwatt|
| Voice Role|
Episode: "Killerwatt"/Episode: "Partners in Slime"
|1986, 1988, 1989||Amen|| Arnie Samples|
|1987||Jake's M.O.||Abel Barnes||Unsold TV-Pilot/TV-Movie|
|Jake and the Fatman||Episode: Fatal Attraction|
|1987, 1989||Valerie|| Judge N. Keller|
| Episode: "Hogan vs. Hogan"|
Episode: "License to Drive"
|1987–1994||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles||Shredder|| Voice Role|
|1988||Dallas||Judge Fowler||Episode: "Malice in Dallas"|
|Beauty and the Beast||Winslow|
|227||Jo-Jo||Episode: "My Aching Back"|
|Heart and Soul||Harlan Sinclair||TV-Pilot|
|1988–1992||L.A. Law||Judge Michael Conover||9 episodes|
|1989||Full Exposure: The Sex Tapes Scandal||Earl||TV-Movie|
|Roe vs. Wade||TV-Movie|
|A Different World||The Pin Punisher||Episode: "To Have and Have Not"|
|Turn Back the Clock||Physical Therapist||TV-Movie|
|1990||Night Court||Judge Hopkins||Episode: "Wedding Bell Blues" (1)|
|Capital News||Episode: Pilot|
|To My Daughter||TV-Movie|
|1990–1996||The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air||Philip Banks||141 episodes|
|1991||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Planet of the Turtleoids||Shredder|| Voice Role|
|The Legend of Prince Valiant||Sir Bryant|| Voice Role|
|1992||Roc||Dale Hammers||Episode: "The Car Accident from Heaven"|
|1993||Without Warning: Terror in the Towers||Fred Ferby||TV-Movie|
|1993, 1994||American Experience|| Charles Hamilton Houston|
| Episode: "Simple Justice"|
Episode: "Midnight Ramble"
|1994||Hart to Hart: Old Friends Never Die||Chess Player||TV-Movie|
|A Friend to Die For||Agent Gilwood||TV-Movie|
|Aladdin||Haroud Hazi Bin|| Voice Role |
|1994–1995||Iron Man||War Machine|| Voice Role|
|1994, 1996||Duckman|| Voice Role |
Episode: "It's the Thing of the Principal"
Episode: "The Road to Dendron"
|1995||ABC Weekend Special||Headman|| Voice Role |
Episode: "Jirimpimbira - An African Folk Tale"
|Murder One||Judge Nathaniel Alexander||Episode: "Chapter Five"|
|1996||Gargoyles||The Shaman|| Voice Role |
Episode: "Walk About"
|Captain Simian & the Space Monkeys||Gor-illa/Gor|| Voice Role|
|Spider-Man||War Machine|| Voice Role |
Episode: "Sins of the Fathers Chapter 10 - Venom Returns"
Episode: "Sins of the Fathers Chapter 11 - Carnage"
|1996–1998||Sparks||Alonzo Sparks||40 episodes|
|1996, 1998||In the House|| Mediator|
| Episode: "Love on a One-Way Street"|
Episode: "My Pest Friend's Wedding"
|1997||Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child||Father|| Voice Role|
Episode: "The Golden Goose"
|Extreme Ghostbusters||Danny|| Voice Role|
Episode: "Dry Spell"
|1998||The Advanced Guard||Fred||TV-Movie|
|You Lucky Dog||Calvin||TV-Movie|
|The Wild Thornberrys||Gorilla|| Voice Role|
Episode: "Valley Girls"
|1999||Vengeance Unlimited||Judge Christopher Washington||Episode: "Legalese"|
|For Your Love||Rev. Hicks||Episode: "Mother Load"|
|Family Law||Episode: "Damages"|
|1999, 2000||Pepper Ann||Mr. Clapper|| Episode: "Beyond Good and Evel..."|
Episode: "Unhappy Campers..."
Episode: "The Finale"
|2000||Bull||Prof. Gilbert Granville||Episode: "What the Past Will Bring"|
|One World||William Richard||Episode: "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner"|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||Preston Cash||Episode: "Unfriendly Skies"|
|Two Guys and a Girl||Judge||Episode: "Rescue Me"|
|2000, 2002||Dharma & Greg||Walter|| Episode: "Love, Honor & Olé!"|
Episode: "Mission - Implausible"
|2001||Epoch||Dr. Solomon Holt||TV-Movie|
|The Jamie Foxx Show||Reverend||Episode: "Always and Forever"|
|Strong Medicine||Harold Jenkins||Episode: "Wednesday Night Fever"|
|The Legend of Tarzan||Chief Keewazi|| Voice Role|
Episode: "Tarzan and the Poisoned River" (1)
Episode: "Tarzan and the Poisoned River" (2)
Episode: "Tarzan and the Eagle's Feather"
|The Proud Family||Crandall Smythe|| Voice Role|
Episode: "Spelling Bee"
|2001, 2002, 2003||Soul Food||Walter Carter|| Episode: "Nice Work If You Can Get It"|
Episode: "Life Lessons"
Episode: "This Must Be Love"
Episode: "All Together Alone"
|2002||Philly||Dean Mark Clivner||Episode: "Here Comes the Judge"|
|Judging Amy||Mr. Ruff||Episode: "Damage Control"|
|Nancy Drew||Prof. Shifflin||TV-Movie|
|2002–2003||The Division||Charles Haysbert||9 episodes|
|2003||Reba||Judge Samuel Bennett||Episode: "The Feud"|
|Crossing Jordan||Dr. Erkhart||Episode: "Conspiracy"|
|Street Smarts||Contestant||Episode: "May 16, 2003"|
|All About the Andersons||Roscoe||Episode: "Flo's Dream"|
|2003, 2004||All of Us||Lucas|| Episode: "I Saw Tia Kissing Santa Claus"|
Episode: "Parents Just Don't Understand"
|2004||That '70s Show||Officer Kennedy|| Episode: "Young Man Blues"|
Episode: "A Legal Matter"
Episode: "Happy Jack"
|Charmed||Zola||Episode: "A Call to Arms"|
|NYPD Blue||Steve Pines||Episode: "Great Balls or Ire"|
|Girlfriends||Dr. Couch||Episode: "Maybe Baby"|
|That's So Raven||Presto Jones||Episode: "Opportunity Shocks"|
|2005–2007||The Closer||Dr. Crippen||11 episodes|
|2005||My Wife and Kids||Professor Tillman||Episode: "Study Buddy"|
|Star Trek: Enterprise||General K'Vagh|| Episode: "Affliction"|
|Living With Fran||Mr. Bryant||Episode: "Learning with Fran"|
|2006||Take 3||Judge Sanderson||Episode: "Study Buddy"|
|2008||Eli Stone||Mason Andrews||Episode: "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go"|
|1989||Splash Mountain||Br'er Frog|
|1995||Animated Storybook: The Lion King||Scar|
- REDIRECT Template:IMDb name
- REDIRECT Template:AllRovi person
- James Avery (actor) at TV.com
- James Avery at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
- The HistoryMakers Biography, photos and video clips