Avery Franklin Brooks is an American actor, director, singer and educator. He first became known for his role in the American TV show ‘Spenser: For Hire’, an American crime drama series that aired for three years. He continued to appear in its spin-off show ‘A Man Called Hawk’, reprising his role of Hawk. He came into the international spotlight after he started appearing in the sci-fi TV series ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’, where he played Captain Benjamin Sisko. He has also appeared in several films, including the Oscar-nominated film ‘American History X.’ In his career so far, Brooks has been nominated for a few awards. His first nomination was for a CableACE Award for his role in the TV film ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’. Later, he was nominated for an NAACP Image Award as well as a Saturn Award for his role in the TV show ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’. Other than his work in the entertainment industry, he is also a tenured professor in the theatre department at Rutgers University, where he began teaching in 1976.
Childhood & Early Life
Avery Brooks was born on 2nd October 1948, in Evansville, Indiana, US. His father’s name was Samuel Brooks, and his mother was Eva Lydia. The former was a union official as well as a tool and die worker, while the latter was a choral conductor as well as a music instructor.
He studied at Indiana University and Oberlin College. Later, he went to Rutgers University. He became the first African American to receive an MFA degree in acting and directing from there.
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Avery Brooks’ first on-screen performance was a guest role in 1984, in the anthology TV series ‘American Playhouse’. In 1985, he started appearing in the crime drama series ‘Spenser: For Hire’, where he played the role of Hawk, one of the main characters. The series aired till 1988. He reprised his role as the lead of the spin-off show ‘A Man called Hawk’, which aired for 13 episodes.
His first role in a movie was in the 1985 romantic comedy television film ‘Finnegan Begin Again’, where he had a guest role. In 1987, he appeared in his second television film ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’, where he played the lead role of Uncle Tom. His performance got him nominated him for a CableACE Award.
He continued to appear in several TV films, including ‘Roots: The Gift’ (1988), ‘Spenser: Ceremony’ (1993), and ‘Spenser: A Savage Place’ (1995).
Between 1993 and 1999, he played the role of Captain Benjamin Sisko in the TV series ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’. This can be considered the most important role in his entire career. He was nominated for an NAACP Image Award as well as a Saturn Award for his performance. The series gained much popularity on an international level and was also appreciated by critics.
In 1998, he appeared on the big screen with a main role in the action comedy film ‘The Big Hit’. The film was a commercial success, earning more than twice its $13 million budget, and was met with mixed reviews. The same year, he also appeared in the crime drama film ‘American History X’. The film was not very successful commercially, though it earned appreciation from critics. It was also nominated for several awards, including an Oscar.
In 2001, he appeared in the action thriller film ‘15 Minutes,’ playing Detective Leon Jackson, a main character. The film was a moderate success commercially, though critical reception was mostly unfavorable.
In 2006, he gave the voice for Commander Benjamin Sisko in ‘Star Trek: Legacy,’ a video game based on the ‘Star Trek’ series. In 2011, he appeared in a documentary named ‘The Captains’. This has been his last onscreen appearance so far.
One of Avery Brooks’ most important works is his role of Benjamin Sisko in the TV series ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’, where he plays the lead role. The series aired from 1993 to 1999, covering seven seasons. The series was much praised by critics. Other actors who appeared in the show include Rene Auberjonois, Terry Farrell, Cirroc Lofton and Alexander Siddig. Brooks was nominated for two awards for his splendid acting in the series.
Another one of Brooks’ important works is his role in the crime drama film ‘American History X’. Directed by Tony Kaye, the film starred Brooks in a supporting role. Other actors in the film were Edward Norton, Edward Furlong and Elliott Gould. It was not very successful commercially, but it was praised by critics. It was also nominated for multiple awards, including an Oscar.
Family & Personal Life
Avery Brooks got married to Vicki Bowen in 1976. The couple has three children.