Avery Brooks biography
Date of Birth: April 18, 1949
Born to a musical family in Evansville, Indiana, Brooks moved to Gary, Indiana where he grew up
listening to and singing jazz as his mother played piano and organ, while his father sang in the
gospel group Wings Over Jordan.
He attended and graduated from Rutgers University in New Jersey,
with a Masters of Fine Arts in acting and directing.
Not willing to part from school entirely,
Brooks became a professor for Drama-Science at Rutgers in 1972, an honor he wouldn't give up
Following school, Brooks began working in theatre, landing numerous roles including the
starring role in Othello, Tesus and Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Malcom X in
The Life and Times of Malcolm X, and a number of other roles in such plays as The
Offering, The Talented Teeth, Fences, Pantomime and Boogie Woogie
In 1984, he began a 15-year career in television starting with the telefilm, Solomon Northrup's
Odyssey, as Solomon Northup.
One year after he began, he landed a starring role for the series,
Spencer: for Hire. Playing Hawk beside Robert Urich's Spencer, the show became popular with
audiences, lasting four years.
After the final show of Spencer, Brooks remained in television working on more telefilms and
In 1992, he once again grabbed a long lasting role on a series destined to be popular,
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Playing the star fleet commander (later turned captain) Benjamin
Sisko, the show would go on for years ending in 1999, and even gave Brooks the chance at directing
for the first time.
It would also garner him two Image Award nominations for best Actor in a
The educational circle had not forgotten Brooks, for in 1994 he was inducted into the College
of Fellows of the American Theater. That same year he became the Artistic Director of the
National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, Georgia.
Two years later he was given an Honorary
Doctorate in Fine Arts from Oberlin College, and after two more years he was given an Honorary
Doctorate in Fine Arts from Buffalo State University.
Following the successful run of Deep Space Nine, Brooks went on to work in a number of feature
films including The Big Hit (1998), American History X (1998), and 15
Minutes (2001). He would also spend much of his time behind the camera, not as a director, but
as a narrator for various films and television specials like Quest for Life and Walking
Brooks married in 1976 and with his wife Vicki, has three children, a daughter, Ayana, and two
sons, Asante and Cabral.
Avery Brooks Filmography