Avery Brooks (born October 2, 1948 in Evansville, Indiana) is an American actor.
He was educated at Oberlin College and Indiana University, earning degrees at both schools. Later he attended Rutgers University where he graduated MFA in acting and directing, becoming the first African-American to achieve this degree. In 1972 he became tenured professor at the Mason Gross School of the Arts. In 1993 he was named Artistic Director for the National Black Arts Festival, in association with Rutgers University. The same year he was also inducted into the Rutgers University Hall of Distinguished Alumni.
Avery Brooks was born to a musically-talented family. His maternal grandfather Samuel Travis Crawford toured with the country singing group Delta Rhythm Boys during the 1930s. His mother has a degree in music from Northwestern University. Avery has played jazz piano and performed baritone during his stage career, including the lead in the opera X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X.
He spent ten years performing an acclaimed role of Phillip Hayes Dean in the play Paul Robeson, including performances at the Westwood Playhouse and the Kennedy Center. He is known for his dedication to African-American issues and is also Associate Professor in Theater Arts at Rutgers University. He has also hosted several documentaries and served as narrator in such features as the IMAX film "Africa's Elephant Kingdom".
His television work includes the popular 1980s television series Spenser: For Hire where he played the character Hawk. In 1989, Brooks received his own, short-lived spinoff series, A Man Called Hawk. He has also appeared in an adaptation of Uncle Tom's Cabin and American History X.
Brooks is perhaps best known for the leading role of Benjamin Sisko on the science-fiction television series Star Trek:Deep Space Nine. He directed many episodes of the series, including "Far Beyond the Stars", held by many to be one of Star Trek's best episodes.
Recently, Trekweb and TrekToday announced that Avery Brooks would take a role in the Rambo IV (2007).