Close
BRAND NEW ON E!
  • News/ 

    Jada Pinkett Smith Pays Tribute to James Avery, Fake Will Smith Tweet Goes Viral After Death of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Star

    Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith Theo Wargo/Getty Images

    Like so many who loved James Avery, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith did not wake up to good news on New Year's Day.

    "Happy New Year everyone! I was hoping to start the new year differently but we have lost yet another friend," Pinkett Smith wrote on Facebook last night. "James Avery who we all lovingly know as Uncle Phil from The Fresh Prince has passed.

    "Our condolences to aunt Florence (his mother), Miss Barbara (his wife) and all those who loved him. Rest in peace James."

    Avery died Dec. 31 at a Los Angeles hospital after suffering complications from open-heart surgery. The veteran character and voice-over actor was 68.

    PHOTOS: Stars we lost in 2013

    Alfonso Ribeiro and Tatyana Ali, who played Avery's kids Carlton and Ashley Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, also paid tribute to their fallen TV dad yesterday, both of them saying that he was like a father to them during their days on the hit sitcom.

    But while there was an outpouring of real grief on Twitter, some posts weren't so genuine.

    A post from a fake Will Smith Twitter account (the actor is on Facebook, he doesn't tweet), @Fresh Prince Will, read, "R.I.P. Uncle Phil. All you real Fresh Prince fans out there...DON'T STOP #RETWEETING THIS," and attached was a screengrab of direct messages to NBC suggesting a Fresh Prince reunion. (NBC and E! Online are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)

    Ironically, Twitter automatically aggregated headlines under the exchange, and at press time two of them were links to stories on Hollywood Life and the U.K.'s Metro about the fake Smith tweet.

    PHOTOS: Greatest TV dads

    FROM AROUND THE WEB
    MORE ON EONLINE

    RELATED VIDEOS: