Margaret Avery

Margaret Avery

Born: January 20, 1944
Age: 74
Birthplace: Mangum, Oklahoma, United States
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Margaret Avery (born January 20, 1944), is an American actress. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance as Shug in The Color Purple (1985).


Early life

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


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 Academy Award 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.

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 MGM crime/drama 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, played by Albert Popwell. 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.

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. The two would later star together in Meet the Browns.

She has also made numerous TV series guest appearances, 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 hit series Being Mary Jane.

Personal life

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

Margaret Avery lives in Los Angeles, and remains active in the show business industry. While continuing to act, she also works with at-risk teenagers and battered women of Greater Los Angeles.


Year Title Role Notes
1972 Cool Breeze Lark
1972 Terror House Edwina
1973 Magnum Force Prostitute
1973 An Eye for an Eye Nurse
1973 Hell Up in Harlem Sister Jennifer
1977 Which Way Is Up? Annie Mae
1977 Scott Joplin Belle Joplin
1979 Fish That Saved Pittsburgh, TheThe Fish That Saved Pittsburgh Toby Millman
1985 Color Purple, TheThe Color Purple Shug Avery Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1989 Riverbend Bell Coleman
1990 Return of Superfly, TheThe Return of Superfly Francine
1993 Lightning in a Bottle Dr. Sierheed
1993 Night Trap Miss Sadie
1994 Cyborg 3: The Recycler Doc Edford
1995 Set-Up, TheThe 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 Direct-to-video
2008 Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins Mama Jenkins
2008 Meet the Browns Sarah Brown
2009 Extrospection Anna
Year Title Role Notes
1972 Something Evil Irene
1974 Kojak - You can't tell a hurt man how to holler Lula
1976 Louis Armstrong - Chicago Style Alma Rae
1980 Sky Is Gray, TheThe Sky Is Gray Rosemary
1980 Lathe of Heaven, TheThe Lathe of Heaven Heather LeLache
1982 The Powers of Matthew Star April Episode "Accused"
1983 For Us, the Living Dottie
1987 Rags to Riches Celia Richards (Cee Cee Smith)
1989 Single Women Married Men Grace Williams
1990 Riverbend Bell Coleman
1990 Heat Wave Roxie Turpin
1992 Jacksons: An American Dream, TheThe Jacksons: An American Dream Martha Scruse
1992 The Cosby Show Leah
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 ]