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Who Did The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air's James Avery Play On That '70s Show?

For a generation of TV viewers, James Avery was synonymous with Uncle Phil on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." He was the strict, gruff disciplinarian in the Banks household, but he wasn't above showing off his softer side when the situation called for it. However, the actor had a lengthy resume filled with live-action and animated roles and left his mark before his tragic passing in 2013. 

Avery appeared on a slew of programs before he landed the role of Uncle Phil, and he carved a nice niche for himself in the world of animation, breathing life into the likes of Shredder on "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and War Machine in the 1990s "Iron Man" cartoon (per IMDb). He had a history of popping up virtually everywhere, to the point where it's easy to forget about some of his more memorable credits, especially in other sitcoms like "Reba" and "That's So Raven."

In case you find yourself wanting to go on a James Avery binge-watch, you have many options at your disposal, including a brief arc on "That '70s Show."

James Avery appeared as Officer Kennedy in three episodes of That '70s Show

After the kids on "That '70s Show" graduated high school, they had to figure out what they wanted to do with their lives. This resulted in many humorous attempts to find careers that suited them, and for Kelso (Ashton Kutcher), that entailed a stint at the police academy to become a cop. Kelso's stupidity played off the sternness of his superiors in hilarious ways, often putting him at odds with the likes of Officer Kennedy, played by James Avery.

He comes up a few times throughout Season 6 of the sitcom, most notably in the episode "A Legal Matter." In it, Kelso fears he may be the "stooge" of the police academy and breaks into the building after hours to check his record. However, he's found by Kennedy and told he wasn't the stooge before, but he is now.

Avery, as Officer Kennedy, is perfect casting. He brings the same seriousness that made him such a funny foil on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," which contrasts greatly with the gang's antics. Plus, he still brings some softness to the role, especially when he finds out Kelso has a daughter on the way, allowing him to take pity on Kelso instead of kicking him out of the academy. Avery's role on "That '70s Show" wasn't just an opportunity to cash in on a big-name actor; he genuinely brought something unique to the show.