From his earliest days, character actor Erick Avari's family knew that he would eventually end up with a career in show business -- though given the fact that his grandparents on both sides of the family owned movie theaters throughout India and Asia (not to mention that his great-grandfather was a Victorian-era theater producer often credited with introducing women into Indian theater), they no doubt thought he would lean more towards the "business" side and less towards the "show." The majority of Avari's childhood was spent in Darjeeling, India. Though young Avari's primary language was English, he also mastered Nepali, Bengali, Hindi, and Gujarati over the course of his childhood. A steady diet of English-language films viewed at one of his father's two theaters no doubt aided the aspiring actor in bettering his English skills, and following a small role in Satyajit Ray's Kanchenjungha and a chance meeting with the Kendall family theater troupe, Avari's career was soon moving in the right direction. Following several years of college in India, Avari was awarded a scholarship to the College of Charleston, SC, where he studied acting before moving to New York to pursue a stage career. Roles in New York's Joseph Papp Public Theater and in the Broadway production of The King and I were quick to follow, and Avari made his feature debut with a role in the 1984 fantasy comedy Nothing Lasts Forever. Through the remainder of the '80s and the '90s, Avari carved a successful niche in film as the go-to guy for roles that called for mysterious men from the Far East, and roles in such wide-release films as Encino Man, For Love or Money, Stargate, and The Mummy kept him in the public eye. By the millennial turnover, audiences were no doubt familiar with Avari's face, with roles in Planet of the Apes, Mr. Deeds, The Master of Disguise, and Daredevil cementing his status as a talented character actor with impeccable comic timing.
Biography by Jason Buchanan
- Throughout his career he has portrayed characters from more than 24 different nationalities.
- Made his debut with a role in the 1984 fantasy comedy Nothing Lasts Forever.
- Was cast in a leading role in the theatre production of A Midsummer Night's Dream directed by Tony award winner A.J. Antoon.
- Appeared at some of the most prestigious regional theatres including the Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, the Goodman Theater in Chicago and Shakespeare and Company in Stockbridge.
- Played leading roles in Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio at the Portland Grand Opera and in Rasputin at New York City Opera.