Actor Val Avery

Sebouh Der Abrahamian (July 14, 1924 – December 12, 2009), known professionally as Val Avery, was an American character actor who appeared in hundreds of movies and television shows. In a career that spanned 50 years, Avery appeared in over 100 films and had appearances in over 300 television episodes.

Early life

Avery was born in Philadelphia to Armenian parents Megerdich and Arousiag Der Abrahamian. His father was from Sebastia and moved to America in 1907. During the Armenian genocide, his grandfather Bedros Der Abrahamian, a priest at the Church of the Holy Mother of God in Sebastia, was murdered. In his early years he acted in plays with the Armenian Youth Federation. After serving in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II, he attended the Bessie V. Hicks School of Drama in Philadelphia.


Avery was frequently cast as tough or low-class types, such as policemen, thugs, mobsters, bartenders, and blue-collar workers.

He had television roles in The Twilight Zone episode “The Night of the Meek” (1960) and in four Columbo episodes “A Friend in Deed” (1974), “Dead Weight” (1971), “The Most Crucial Game” (1972), and “Identity Crisis” (1975). Avery’s other television appearances include The Untouchables, The Fugitive, Gunsmoke, The Asphalt Jungle, The Investigators, Mission: Impossible, Daniel Boone, The Munsters, Mannix, The Odd Couple, Kojak, Quincy, M.E., Friday the 13th: The Series, Cannon and Law & Order.

Avery made his film debut with an uncredited role in The Harder They Fall (1956), the last film of Humphrey Bogart. Avery appeared in five John Cassavetes films: Too Late Blues (1961), Faces (1968), Minnie and Moskowitz (1971), The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976), and Gloria (1980). His many film credits also include The Long, Hot Summer (1958), The Magnificent Seven (1960), Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962), Hud (1963), Papillon (1973), The Wanderers (1979), The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984), Cobra (1986), and Donnie Brasco (1997).

On Broadway, Avery appeared in a successful 1969-70 revival of The Front Page.

Personal life

Val Avery and actress Margot Stevenson were married from 1953 until his death. Their daughter, Margot Avery, is also an actress.


Avery died on December 12, 2009 at age 85 in his Greenwich Village home.



Year Title Role Notes
1956 The Harder They Fall Frank Uncredited
1957 Edge of the City Brother
1958 The Long, Hot Summer Wilk Uncredited
1958 King Creole Ralph Uncredited
1959 Last Train from Gun Hill Steve, Horseshoe Bartender
1960 The Magnificent Seven Henry
1961 Too Late Blues Milt Frielobe
1962 Requiem for a Heavyweight Young fighter’s promoter
1963 Hud Jose
1963 Love with the Proper Stranger Stein Uncredited
1965 Sylvia Pudgey Smith Uncredited
1965 The Hallelujah Trail Denver bartender
1965 Satan’s Bed
1966 Wild Wild Winter Fox
1966 Nevada Smith Buck Mason
1966 Assault on a Queen Trench
1967 Hombre Delgado
1968 Faces Jim McCarthy
1968 No Way to Treat a Lady Bartender Uncredited
1968 The Pink Jungle Rodriguez
1968 The Brotherhood Jake Rotherman
1969 Machine Gun McCain Chuck Regan
1969 A Dream of Kings Fatsas
1970 The Traveling Executioner Jake
1971 Vanishing Point Police Officer Uncredited
1971 The Anderson Tapes Rocco “Socks” Parelli
1971 Who Says I Can’t Ride a Rainbow! The Marshal
1971 Minnie and Moskowitz Zelmo Swift
1972 The Legend of Hillbilly John Cobart
1973 Black Caesar Cardoza
1973 Papillon Pascal
1973 The Laughing Policeman Insp. John Pappas
1975 Russian Roulette Rudolph Henke
1975 Let’s Do It Again Lt. Bottomley
1975 Lucky Lady Dolph
1976 The Killing of a Chinese Bookie Blair Benoit
1976 Harry and Walter Go to New York Chatsworth
1977 Heroes Bus Driver
1978 Up in Smoke The Hoods: Factory Boss
1979 Love and Bullets Caruso
1979 The Wanderers Mr. Sharp
1979 The Amityville Horror Sgt. Gionfriddo
1980 Brubaker Wendel
1980 Gloria Sill
1981 The Chosen Teacher
1981 Continental Divide Yablonowitz
1981 Choices Coach Rizzo
1981 Sharky’s Machine Man with Siakwan
1982 Assignment Berlin Talaat Pasha
1982 Jinxed! Milt Hawkins
1983 The Sting II O’Malley
1983 Easy Money Louie the Bartender
1984 The Pope of Greenwich Village Nunzi
1985 Too Scared to Scream Dr. Richards
1986 Cobra Chief Halliwell
1986 The Messenger Clark
1997 Donnie Brasco Trafficante
1999 A Fish in the Bathtub Abe
2001 In the Shadows Carlo Pierazzi
2004 Blueberry Judge


Year Title Role Notes
1953 Lux Video Theatre Hank Episode: “One for the Road”
1954–1956 The Big Story Informer 2 episodes
1955 Robert Montgomery Presents Philip Reilly (The Tall Dark Man) Episode: “The Tall Dark Man”
1956–1958 Kraft Television Theatre John Hardy / Mauck 2 episodes
1956–1958 Playhouse 90 Bartender 2 episodes
1956–1961 Armstrong Circle Theatre Uncle Steve / Joe Varetti / Napol / Ronald Levesque / Gino Dovelli 9 episodes
1957 There Shall Be No Night Gus Shuman Television film
1957 Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theatre Carson Episode: “Proud Woman”
1957–1969 Gunsmoke Bull Anders / Trent / Dorner / Joe Nadler 4 episodes
1958 The Investigator 2 episodes
1959 The Lineup Episode: “The Frederick Freemont Case”
1959 Border Patrol Waxey Walters Episode: “In a Deadly Fashion”
1959 Peter Gunn Hoodlum Episode: “Protection”
1959 Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer Sheriff Jenkins Episode: “Goodbye, Al”
1959 Johnny Staccato Corky Lewis Episode: “Viva, Paco!”
1959 The Lawless Years Bobo Koening Episode: “The Billy Boy ‘Rockabye’ Creel Story”
1959 The Play of the Week Police Chief Episode: “The Power and the Glory”
1960 Cradle Song The Driver Television film
1960 The Untouchables Frank Salinas / Johnny the Enforcer 2 episodes
1960 Bonanza Sheriff Trev Kincaid Episode: “Breed of Violence”
1960 Hong Kong Michael Fortune Episode: “The Turncoat”
1960 The Twilight Zone The Bartender Episode: “The Night of the Meek”
1961 Tales of Wells Fargo Frank ‘Bully’ Armstrong Episode: “Town Against a Man”
1961 Have Gun – Will Travel Banker B.J. Throckton Episode: “The Gold Bar”
1961 Rawhide Sheriff Episode: “Incident of the Blackstorms”
1961 The Asphalt Jungle The Big Fellow Episode: “The Dark Night”
1961 The Power and the Glory Television film
1961 The Investigators Phil Bledsoe Episode: “Something for Charity”
1961–1963 The Defenders Strafaci / Mac Peters / D.A. Anthony Periko 3 episodes
1962 The Everglades Pops / Harry Conlin 2 episodes
1963 Naked City Franko Episode: “Beyond This Place There Be Dragons”
1963 The Doctors and the Nurses Charman Tompkins Episode: “Strike”
1963–1964 East Side/West Side Lt. Al Costello / Det. Al Costello 5 episodes
1964 The Reporter Pete Krenek Episode: “How Much for a Prince?”
1964 Mr. Broadway Detective Episode: “Smelling Like a Rose”
1964–1965 The Munsters The Commissar / Marty 2 episodes
1965 Kraft Suspense Theatre Sergeant / Colonel Velasquez 3 episodes
1965 Slattery’s People Lou Teller Episode: “Question: Does Nero Still at Ringside Sit?”
1965 Peyton Place Boudreau Episode: #1.81
1965 Daniel Boone Watowah Episode: “The Old Man and the Cave”
1965 Get Smart KAOS Agent #1 Episode: “Now You See Him, Now You Don’t”
1965 Honey West Roger Episode: “A Neat Little Package”
1965–1967 The Fugitive Jim Ross / Gordie Shiller / Jerry Kulik / Burns 4 episodes
1966 The Virginian Jim Sunderland Episode: “Harvest of Strangers”
1966 Run for Your Life 2nd Man Episode: “Night Train from Chicago”
1966 Felony Squad Gene Hardy Episode: “Strike Out”
1966 I Spy Josef Episode: “Will the Real Good Guys Please Stand Up?”
1966 Laredo Sheriff Jonathan Daniels Episode: “Road to San Remo”
1966 The Dangerous Days of Kiowa Jones Morgan Television film
1966–1967 The Wild Wild West Brad Logan / John Crane 2 episodes
1966–1974 The F.B.I. Max Horton / Tony Hendricks / Carn / Roy Sumner 4 episodes
1967 Dragnet 1967 Phil Masturian Episode: “The Big Explosion”
1967 The Invaders Manager Episode: “The Mutation”
1967 Iron Horse Grimes Episode: “The Passenger”
1967 Mr. Terrific Leo Episode: “Stanley the Track Star”
1967 CBS Playhouse McDermott Episode: “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”
1968 Lancer Wade Hackett Episode: “Julie”
1968 Judd, for the Defense John Rowan Episode: “A Swim with Sharks”
1968 N.Y.P.D. Episode: “The Love Hustle”
1968–1971 The Mod Squad Briggs / Turk 2 episodes
1968–1972 Mission: Impossible Augie Leitch / Frank Brady / Constantine Victor / Al Ross 4 episodes
1969 My Friend Tony Episode: “Let George Do It”
1970 Dan August Ranch Foreman Russ Carter Episode: “The Murder of a Small Town”
1970 The Name of the Game Mike Episode: “Cynthia Is Alive and Living in Avalon”
1970 The Bold Ones: The Lawyers Lt. Aram Makarian Episode: “Panther in a Cage”
1970–1974 Mannix Vanaman / Doyle / Mel Cooley / Harry Ruxton 4 episodes
1971 A Tattered Web Sgt. Harry Barnes Television film
1971 Monty Nash Luis Perez / Man 2 episodes
1971 The Bold Ones: The New Doctors Victor Corso Episode: “The Convicts”
1971–1972 McCloud Walter McKay / Gruber 2 episodes
1971–1975 Columbo Louie / Artie Jessup / Ralph Dobbs / Harry Barnes 4 episodes
1972 Nichols Jasper 2 episodes
1972–1973 Ironside McKay / Arnie Hummel 2 episodes
1972–1974 Cannon Leo Crothers / Pawnshop Owner 2 episodes
1973 Firehouse Sonny Caputo Television film
1973 Madigan Augie Episode: “The Park Avenue Beat”
1973 Shaft Captain Rigano Episode: “The Killing”
1973 Blood Sport Frank Dorsdale Television film
1973 The Odd Couple Elmo Episode: “A Barnacle Adventure”
1973–1974 Barnaby Jones Andy Burns 4 episodes
1973–1974 Police Story Sgt. Mahler / Steve 2 episodes
1974 Kojak George Janis Episode: “Marker to a Dead Bookie”
1975 Archer Joe Mengers Episode: “Blood Money”
1975 The Law Ouspensky Television miniseries
1975 McCoy Turk Episode: “Double Take”
1976–1977 Baretta Ray Carmona / Pogo 2 episodes
1976–1978 Switch Rosie Finniston / Irving Munn 2 episodes
1977 Stonestreet: Who Killed the Centerfold Model? Chuck Voit Television film
1977 Starsky & Hutch Capt. Ryan Episode: “Starsky and Hutch Are Guilty”
1977 The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries Tracy / Skipper 2 episodes
1977 Man from Atlantis Lew Episode: “C.W. Hyde”
1977–1981 Quincy, M.E. Rawley Dinehart / Aaron Zakarian / Carlo Russo 4 episodes
1981 The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo Bearded Man in Suit Episode: “What’re Girls Like You Doing in a Bank Like This?”
1984 The Streets Whitcomb Television film
1984 Hardcastle and McCormick Willie Lerner Episode: “It Coulda Been Worse, She Coulda Been a Welder”
1985 Out of the Darkness Guido Pressano Television film
1986 Courage Pete Solto Television film
1987 Cagney & Lacey Rekubian Episode: “Favors”
1988 Friday the 13th: The Series Russ Sharko Episode: “Badge of Honor”
1989 Men Burt Episode: “Cupid Ms…Takes”
1989 Moonlighting Mr. Viola Episode: “In ‘N Outlaws”
1989 Hunter Ray Sullivan Episode: “Ring of Honor”
1991–1996 Law & Order Max Schaeffer / Dan Magadan Sr. 2 episodes
1992 Teamster Boss: The Jackie Presser Story Salerno Television film
1992 Counterstrike Morey Lempke Episode: “No Honour Among Thieves”
1992 Secret Service Moe Episode: “It’s in the Mail/Counterfeit Murder”
1992 Civil Wars Sol Lobell Episode: “The Old Man and the ‘C'”
1994 Assault at West Point: The Court-Martial of Johnson Whittaker General William T. Sherman Television film
1997 Gold Coast Jimmy Capp Television film
2001 100 Centre Street Sal Gentle Episode: “Queenie and Joe”

External Links

Actor Val Avery – Wikipedia

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