Original ‘Aunt Viv,’ Janet Hubert speaks out about James Avery death

Janet Hubert, who will forever be remembered as playing the TV matriarch Aunt Vivian on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, is speaking out about the death of her co-star James Avery.

Yesterday news broke that Avery died Tuesday in Glendale, Calif., following complications from open heart surgery.

Hubert who played Avery’s on-screen wife for three seasons was shocked to hear of his death.

The actress/producer expressed her condolences to Avery and his family in a statement to theGrio:

“I am home healing and was shocked to hear of James’s passing,” she says. “I think this incredible clip says it best.”

“Acting with James was like a great doubles match! He was one of the best actors I have worked with in my many years. He was like a big strong boulder, that could either crush you or shield you. He was first and foremost an actor, classically trained, climbed that ladder step by step, role by role, to become one of the most powerful TV dads that had ever been created. My heart goes out to Barbara his real wife and family and I ask that you respect her place, as his real wife with regards to her husband with request for statements from me who simply but proudly played his TV wife Vivian Banks. RIP James, all the world is a stage, and we are all merely players in this production called LIFE.”

Avery is survived by his wife Barbara, and stepson Kevin Waters.