Margaret Avery

Margaret Avery

Born: January 20, 1944
Age: 79
Birthplace: Mangum, Oklahoma, U.S.
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Margaret Avery (born January 20, 1944) is an American actress and singer. She began her career appearing on stage and later has had starring roles in films include Cool Breeze (1972), Which Way Is Up? (1977), Scott Joplin (1977), and The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh (1979).

Avery is best known for her performance as Shug Avery in the 1985 period drama film The Color Purple for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.[1] She continued appearing in films include Blueberry Hill (1988), White Man's Burden (1995), Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins (2008), Meet the Browns (2008), and Proud Mary (2018). In 2013, Avery began starring as Helen Patterson, lead character's mother, in the BET drama series Being Mary Jane.

Margaret Avery was born in Mangum, Oklahoma and raised in San Diego, California, where she attended Point Loma High School.[2] She then attended San Francisco State University, where in 1985, she earned her degree in education.[3] While working as a substitute teacher in Los Angeles, Avery began making singing and acting appearances.[2]



Avery is best known for her role as Shug Avery in the 1985 film The Color Purple. Her performance in this screen adaptation of Alice Walker's prize-winning novel The Color Purple earned Avery an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Among the plays Avery appeared in were Revolution and The Sistuhs. In 1972 for her performance in Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?, she received the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress.[4][5]

In the television movie Something Evil (1972), a horror story with Sandy Dennis and Darren McGavin, Avery was directed by Steven Spielberg. That same year she made her theatrical motion picture debut as Lark in the crime film Cool Breeze with Thalmus Rasulala and Judy Pace. In this blaxploitation remake of The Asphalt Jungle, Avery played the Marilyn Monroe part. The following year she played a prostitute in Magnum Force, the second in the series of Dirty Harry films starring Clint Eastwood, in which her character was murdered by her pimp. The character was killed through the pouring drain cleaner down the victim's throat which was said to have inspired the notorious Hi-Fi Murders case in 1974.[6][7]

In the 1977 film Which Way Is Up?, directed by Michael Schultz, Avery gave a comedic performance as Annie Mae, the wife of Richard Pryor's character. That same year, she played Belle Joplin, wife of the ragtime composer Scott Joplin, opposite Billy Dee Williams in the title role.

In 1992 Avery starred in The Jacksons: An American Dream as Martha Scruse, mother of Katherine Jackson, who was played by Angela Bassett.

She has also made guest appearances on TV, including The New Dick Van Dyke Show, Kojak, Sanford and Son, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, A.E.S. Hudson Street, Murder, She Wrote, Miami Vice, Spenser: For Hire, The Cosby Show, Walker, Texas Ranger, and JAG.

In 2008, Avery played Mama Jenkins in Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, opposite Martin Lawrence and James Earl Jones, and Sarah Brown in Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns, which also stars Angela Bassett.

Currently, Avery plays recurring character Helen Patterson in BET's series Being Mary Jane.[8]

Personal life

In January 1974, Margaret Avery married Robert Gordon Hunt. They have one daughter, Aisha Hunt, and divorced in 1980.[2]

Margaret Avery lives in Los Angeles, and remains active in the show business. While continuing to act, she also works with at-risk teenagers and battered women of the Greater Los Angeles Area. She was interviewed by Melody Trice on The Melody Trice Show about her activism.[9]



Year Title Role Notes
1972 Something Evil Irene
1972 Cool Breeze Lark
1972 Terror House Edwina
1973 An Eye for an Eye Nurse
1973 Magnum Force Prostitute
1973 An Eye for an Eye Nurse
1973 Hell Up in Harlem Sister Jennifer
1976 Louis Armstrong - Chicago Style Alma Rae NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
1977 Which Way Is Up? Annie Mae
1977 Scott Joplin Belle Joplin Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
1979 The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh Toby Millman
1980 The Sky Is Gray Rosemary
1980 The Lathe of Heaven Heather LeLache
1985 The Color Purple Shug Avery Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1988 Blueberry Hill Hattie Cale
1989 Riverbend Bell Coleman
1989 Single Women Married Men Grace Williams
1990 Heat Wave Roxie Turpin
1990 The Return of Superfly Francine
1993 Lightning in a Bottle Dr. Sierheed
1993 Night Trap Miss Sadie
1994 Cyborg 3: The Recycler Doc Edford
1995 The Set-Up Olivia Dubois
1995 White Man's Burden Megan Thomas
1998 Love Kills Moon
2002 Waitin' to Live Pearline Loggins
2002 Second to Die Insurance agent
2007 Lord Help Us Dorinda Thomas
2007 Exodus Robbed Tourist
2008 Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins Mama Jenkins
2008 Meet the Browns Sarah Brown
2009 Extrospection Anna
2018 Proud Mary[10] Mina


Year Title Role Notes
1973 The New Dick Van Dyke Show Pam Harris / Nurse Wilkinson Episode: "What Your Best Friend Doesn't Know"
1973 Ironside' Bartender Episode: "The Last Payment"
1974 Kojak Lula Episode: "You Can't Tell a Hurt Man How to Holler"
1974 Marcus Welby, M.D. Julie Episode: "The 266 Days"
1975 Sanford and Son Denise Episode: "Strange Bedfellows"
1975 Kolchak: The Night Stalker Ruth Van Galen Episode: "The Sentry"
1982 The Powers of Matthew Star April Episode: "Accused"
1983 For Us, the Living Dottie
1987 Rags to Riches Celia Richards (Cee Cee Smith)
1987 Miami Vice Sally Cordova Episode: "The Afternoon Plane"
1992 The Jacksons: An American Dream Martha Scruse
1992 The Cosby Show Leah Episode: "Clair's Reunion"
1992 Roc Helen Episode: "The Lady Killer"
1998 Wie stark muss eine Liebe sein Mary McMillian German TV
2012 Single Ladies Josephine Episode: "Ex Factor"
2013-present Being Mary Jane Helen Patterson Recurring Role

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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