s the world mourns the passing of James Avery, Uncle Phil from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, it’s very important to remember that Avery was the soul of another iconic 1990s character. The cast of the Fresh Prince is really suffering with a heavy loss. His castmates spoke their feelings via Twitter.
He was the voice of Shredder on the animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, and we can never, ever forget that.
Avery should have won The Sixth Man award for ’80s television (an award we just made up). He guested on a wide swath of the decade’s most iconic TV shows, including Webster, The Dukes of Hazzard, St. Elsewhere, Moonlighting, L.A. Law, Dallas and The A-Team.
But Avery also worked extensively as a voice actor, lending his talents to The Real Ghostbusters, Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling and two short-lived animated series based on violent action movies (the ’80s were a strange time): Karate Kommandos (starring Chuck Norris), and Rambo and the Forces of Freedom.
Then, his big break: In 1987, Avery became the voice of primary turtle antagonist the Shredder in the animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, which ran for 10 seasons.
Avery continued his voice acting through the ’90s, notching roles on Gargoyles, Spider-Man, The Wild Thornberrys and, er, Captain Simian & the Space Monkeys.