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Margaret Avery

Margaret Avery

Ever since being born premature and weighing only two pounds, stage and screen actress, Margaret Avery has been a fighter, and a survivor.

As a young woman, she fought to train for and get experience in an industry that provided little opportunity for aspiring black actresses. After studying and learning her craft, she fought for quality roles during a time when movie execs were quick to assign black women to parts as maids, cooks, servants and other stereotypical roles. Determined and undaunted, she became inspired by Martin Luther King messages of equal opportunity for all, and fought for - and won - vital roles in such films as WHICH WAY IS UP?, MAGNUM FORCE, HELL UP IN HARLEM, THE FISH THAT SAVED PITTSBURGH, BLUEBERRY HILL, and WHITE MAN'S BURDEN.

In 1985, her faith and persistence paid off when she was nominated for an Academy Award for her unforgettable role as the sultry and spirited blues singer, Shug Avery in THE COLOR PURPLE, Steven Spielberg's film adaptation of Alice Walker's prize winning novel.

In 1998, she and award-winning Blair Underwood co-hosted and presented the critically acclaimed docudrama, "Sister, I'm Sorry: An Apology to our African American Queens."

Today, while she continues to act, Ms. Avery also finds joy and fulfillment in working with at-risk teenagers and battered women in greater Los Angeles. An Oklahoma native who now lives in Los Angeles, she has won numerous awards for acting and her activism, including the Academy Award nomination for THE COLOR PURPLE, a Los Angles Drama Critics Award for her role in Does A Tiger Wear A Necktie? and an NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award.

A former school teacher, Ms. Avery holds a Bachelor's Degree in Education from the University of San Francisco, and a Master's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy. She lectures across the country and abroad on issues involving women of color and her passion in life, seeking to empower, enlighten and inspire.

Ms. Avery stars opposite Martin Lawrence, James Earl Jones, and Cedric The Entertainer in WELCOME HOME, ROSCOE JENKINS a comedy currently in theaters nationwide and motion picture for Universal Studios.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2008.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Margaret Avery Facts

OccupationActress, Musician
BirthplaceMangum, Oklahoma, USA

Selected Filmography

Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins
The Color Purple
Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns
Return of Superfly
Which Way Is Up?
The Blues Brothers
The Sky is Gray
The Jacksons: An American Dream- The Complete Miniseries
Continue » Find more details on the Margaret Avery Movies page