Margaret Avery

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Margaret Avery
Born (1944-01-20) January 20, 1944 (age 70)
Mangum, Oklahoma, U.S.
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 1972–present
Spouse(s) Robert Gordyn Hunt (1973–1980)

Margaret Avery (born January 20, 1944) is an American actress and singer. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance as Shug in The Color Purple (1985).[1]

Early life[edit]

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, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in education. While working as a substitute teacher in Los Angeles, Avery began making singing appearances and acting on the stage.

Career[edit]

Among the plays she appeared in were Revolution, and The Sistuhs. For her performance in Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie? (1973) she received the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for "Performance In A Major Role."[2]

In the television movie Something Evil (1972), a horror story with Sandy Dennis and Darren McGavin, she was directed by Steven Spielberg. That same year, she made her theatrical motion picture debut as Lark in the MGM crime/drama Cool Breeze (1972) 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 (1973), 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). This act of killing by pouring drain cleaner down the victim's throat was said to have inspired the notorious Hi-Fi Murders case in 1974.[3][4]

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

Avery scored a major success with her role as the sultry and spirited blues singer, Shug Avery, in Spielberg's The Color Purple (1985) opposite Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover. Her performance in this screen adaptation of Alice Walker's prize-winning novel of the same title earned Avery an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting 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.

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.

Personal life[edit]

She married Robert Gordon Hunt in January 1974. They were divorced in 1980 and have one daughter.[citation needed]

Filmography[edit]

Film
Year Title Role Notes
1972 Cool Breeze Lark
1972 Terror House Edwina
1973 Magnum Force Prostitute
1973 Hell Up in Harlem Sister Jennifer
1975 Psychopath, TheThe Psychopath Nurse
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
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1972 Something Evil Irene
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
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

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Actress Gains Visibility, Respect With `Purple`". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-12-04. 
  2. ^ Los Angeles Times, March 20, 1974, "27 Win Critics' Circle Honors," p. E 1.
  3. ^ Kinder, Gary (1982). Victim: The Other Side of Murder. Delacorte Press. ISBN 0385291051. 
  4. ^ Douglas, John E., and Olshaker, Mark (1999). The Anatomy of Motive: The FBI's Legendary Mindhunter Explores the Key to Understanding and Catching Violent Criminals. New York: Scribner. pp. 91–109. ISBN 978-0-684-84598-2. 

External links[edit]