|Born||Mangum, Oklahoma, United States|
|Spouse(s)||Robert Gordon Hunt (1974–1980)|
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.
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 January 1974, Margaret Avery married Robert Gordon Hunt. They have one daughter, Aisha Hunt, and divorced in 1980.
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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||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|
- "Actress Gains Visibility, Respect With `Purple`". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- Brumburgh, Gary. "IMDb Mini Biography".
- "Celebrate SF State and its extraordinary alumni". San Francisco State University. September 2014.
- O'Donnell, Owen; Steen, Sara (1990). "Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television". Gale. p. 27.
- Los Angeles Times, March 20, 1974, "27 Win Critics' Circle Honors," p. E 1.
- Kinder, Gary (1982). Victim: The Other Side of Murder. Delacorte Press. ISBN 0385291051.
- 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.
- "Being Mary Jane". IMDB.