By Tom Vartabedian
NEW YORK — Whether he played a cop, thug, Mafia kingpin, a traveling corset salesman or a loveable Italian grandfather, rest assured Val Avery, born Sebouh Der Abrahamian, always put his best acting foot forward.
Throughout a film career that spanned 50 years, Avery was not only just a journeyman player but treated every role as if it were a contender for the Academy Awards.
For that reason alone, he landed some of the best parts alongside some of the best people in the business — guys like John Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara and Peter Falk with whom he socialized at the Lion’s Head, a popular Greenwich Village tavern close to his home.
Avery died December 12 at age 85, leaving behind a legacy that stands alone by any other Armenian-American in the industry. In all, he made more than 100 films and appeared on television over 300 times in series and dramas. Retirement was not in his persona.
According to IMDB, the online database, among the films he starred in were: “The Harder They Fall” (1956, his feature film debut); “Edge of the City” (1957), “Last Train from Gun Hill” (1959), “Requiem for a Heavyweight” (1962), “Hud” (1963), “Hombre” (1967), “Faces” (1968), “Minnie and Moskowitz” (1971), “The Anderson Tapes” (1971), “Papillon”