The Most Memorable "Fresh Prince" Moments with Uncle Phil


On December 31, 2013, actor James Avery passed away as a result of complications from open heart surgery. Avery, best known to many as Uncle Phil on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, superbly played that role for all six seasons of the show’s run. Avery’s character was pivotal to The Fresh Prince because of the active role he played in the lives of his fictional children, wife, and nephew.

While the NBC sitcom did help make Will Smith a household name, the guidance that the character of Phil provided shaped the Banks’ residence into one of the most beloved homes on 90’s television. In honor of Mr. Avery and his most memorable character, has put together a chronological list of the best Uncle Phil Fresh Prince moments.

All rise as we pay respect to the Honorable Judge Philip Banks.

S1E1: In the series pilot, Will assumes his Uncle is a sellout. However, Phil quickly puts him in his place and tells him about how he heard Malcolm X speak.

S1E6: After Will and Carlton are put in jail for “stealing” a car, Uncle Phil shows up and gets them out.

S1E18: When Phil finds out that Will has taken Hattie, Phil’s mother, to a Heavy D (R.I.P.) concert, he goes to the show in search of them. Phil then accidentally makes his way on to the stage and disappoints the concert-goers who were eagerly awaiting the Overweight Lover.

S1E22: After Will gets hustled at a pool hall, Phil comes to Will’s rescue by giving the scam artist a taste of his own medicine.

S2E16: Carlton, Phil’s son, brings him a toupee. Geoffrey, the Banks’ butler, then makes one of his typical smart-aleck remarks after seeing Phil’s new look.

S3E09: During the campaign to get Phil elected to be a judge, Will makes some last-minute changes to a video promoting his candidacy.

S3E014: Carlton and Will successfully trick Geoffrey into thinking that he has won the lottery. Phil then gives them both a memorable scolding before sending the two out to apologize to Geoffrey and get him to return to the Banks’ home and take back his job.

S3E20: Phil and Will get stuck on an elevator when Philip’s wife, Vivian, goes into labor. In order to respond to the page, Phil makes Hannibal Lecter type threats to someone else in the elevator so that he can use their cell phone.

S4E03: In a very powerful dialogue, Phil explains to Will how his reluctance to face challenges is holding him back in life. This then prompts Will to get back into a difficult college course, even though it will now be for no credit.

S4E22: The beautiful Pam Grier guest stars in this episode as an old college flame of Philip’s named Janice. And although he is at first excited to see her, Janice’s presence creates conflict. She even tries to tempt Philip into intimacy, but her inappropriate behavior ultimately reinforces Philip’s commitment to his wife.

S6E24: One of the most memorable scenes in the series finale is when Will’s mischievous ways get the best of him again, and Phil confronts him about it. Will says, “I just didn’t want your last memory of me to be the same as your first.” Phil then responds, “You have no idea what my first memory of you is. I saw a kid with all the potential in the world. Now I see someone on the verge of realizing that potential.”

And last, but not least…

Rest in peace James Avery (November 27, 1945 – December 31, 2013). sends our deepest condolences to his family and friends.

What are some of your favorite Uncle Phil moments? Please share them in the comments section!