JAMES AVERY (narrating the words of Muhammad Ali) is a man of the world – literally. His love of travel has seen him host the critically acclaimed PBS series Going Places, participate in USO tours, and attend charity events around the world. He has recurring roles on TNT’s The Closer as Dr. Krippin, medical examiner, and as Lucas on CW Network’s All of Us, executive produced by fellow The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air cast member Will Smith. He also starred in the comedy series Sparks (1996-98) on UPN, as Alonzo Sparks, the patriarch of a family of lawyers in inner-city Los Angeles, and he portrayed Philip Banks, a successful, Harvard-educated judge on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which ran for six years on NBC.
Avery says most of his television characters resemble his own personality. “I come from poor roots and used to say to my mother how unfair it was that blacks need to be 10 times better than anyone else to make it. She would say, ‘Stop whining and be 10 times better.’ That was Philip’s and Alonzo’s outlook as well.”
Avery’s movie credits include Hart to Hart, A Friend to Die For, Terror In the Towers, You Lucky Dog – an original movie for the Disney Channel – and Nancy Drew, an original movie for ABC Television Network. On PBS he co-starred with Regina Taylor and Leon in Spirit Lost, produced by Tim Reid, and in Simple Justice. He has also provided voices for animated series such as Aladdin, Duckman, Gargoyles, Spiderman, and Extreme Ghostbusters.
His feature films include Third Wish, Think Tank, Lethal Eviction, Raise Your Voice, Hair Show, Dancing in September (selected as an official entry in the 2001 Sundance film festival), Wheelmen, Chasing Sunsets, Honeybee, Out in Fifty, After Romeo, Advanced Guard, Twelve Bucks, The Brady Bunch Movie, Fletch, License to Drive, and Eight Million Ways to Die. He also voiced the character of Eldon in Dr. Doolittle 2.
He recently toured in the original play Cheaters with Brian McKnight and performed Othello at the Theatricum Botanicum; for the latter role he received the 2006 NAACP Image award for Lead Male. He was Producer Howard Benedict in UCLA’s Freud Playhouse’s production, Applause. He was part of the Los Angeles 2004 production of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom with Loretta Devine, which received LA Weekly’s Theatre Award for Revival Production of the Year and Ensemble. He played Lord Montague, Romeo’s father, in the Ahmanson Theatre production of Romeo and Juliet, directed by Sir Peter Hall.