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Margaret Avery (American actress) Bio, Facts 

Margaret Avery

Born/Date of Birth: January 20, 1944
Date of Birth: Mangum, Oklahoma, United States
Residence: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation: Actress, singer
Education: Point Loma High School, San Francisco State University
Spouse(s): Robert Gordon Hunt(m. 1974; div. 1980)
Children: Aisha Hunt

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. 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.

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 Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

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

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.

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.

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. 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.

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Categories: Actresses from San Diego,African-American female singers,Musicians from San Diego,Point Loma High School alumni,San Francisco State University alumni,People from Mangum, Oklahoma,Actresses from Oklahoma,African-American actresses,American television actresses,American film actresses,American stage actresses,20th-century American actresses,21st-century American actresses,Singers from California,1944 births