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Phylicia Rashad

Phylicia Rashad

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Also Known As: Phylicia Allen, Phylicia Ayers Allen, Phylicia Ayers-Allen Died:
Born: June 19, 1948 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Houston, Texas, USA Profession: actor, singer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

One of the best-loved matriarchs in television history, Phylicia Rashad made her Broadway debut playing a munchkin in the original 1975 production of "The Wiz." Following this up with a small role in the musical company of the Tony Award-winning smash hit, "Dreamgirls," Rashad segued into television in the early 1980's. Though her first big break came playing Courtney Wright on the daytime soap, "One Life to Live" (ABC, 1968- ), it was her breakthrough role as no-nonsense matriarch Clair Huxtable on the landmark sitcom "The Cosby Show" (NBC, 1984-1992) that forever changed her life and added her to the long list of beloved TV moms, a la June Cleaver and Carol Brady.

One of the best-loved matriarchs in television history, Phylicia Rashad made her Broadway debut playing a munchkin in the original 1975 production of "The Wiz." Following this up with a small role in the musical company of the Tony Award-winning smash hit, "Dreamgirls," Rashad segued into television in the early 1980's. Though her first big break came playing Courtney Wright on the daytime soap, "One Life to Live" (ABC, 1968- ), it was her breakthrough role as no-nonsense matriarch Clair Huxtable on the landmark sitcom "The Cosby Show" (NBC, 1984-1992) that forever changed her life and added her to the long list of beloved TV moms, a la June Cleaver and Carol Brady.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Outliving Emily (2014)
2.
 Good Deeds (2012)
3.
 Steel Magnolias (2012)
4.
5.
 Change of Plans (2011)
6.
7.
8.
 Just Wright (2010)
9.
10.
 Murder, She Wrote: The Last Free Man (2001) Cassandra Hawkins
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Joined the Merry-Go-Round Theatre, a training program for talented children sponsored by the Alley Theatre in Houston, TX
:
Stage debut with the Negro Ensemble Company in "Sons and Fathers of Sons" while attending Howard University
:
Off-Broadway debut, "To Be Young, Gifted and Black"
1972:
Appeared in "Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death" at the Ambassador Theatre
1972:
Cast in a Lincoln Center production of Ed Bullins' "The Duplex"
1975:
Broadway debut in "The Wiz" playing a Munchkin, a fieldmouse and an Emerald city swing dancer
1979:
Released the album "Josephine Superstar," a disco concept record telling the life story of Josephine Baker
1981:
Played title role of Zora Neale Hurston in "Zora"
1981:
Had a small role in the musical "Dreamgirls"
1983:
TV debut in the role of Courtney Wright on the ABC daytime drama "One Life to Live"
1984:
Essayed the role of Clair Huxtable, lawyer, wife and mother, on the popular NBC family sitcom "The Cosby Show"
1987:
TV film debut, "Uncle Tom's Cabin"
1988:
Returned to Broadway to replace Bernadette Peters in the role of the Witch in the musical "Into the Woods"
1989:
Directed by her sister Debbie Allen in the TV movie musical "Polly" (NBC), adapted from the book <i>Pollyanna</i>
1992:
Joined the cast of the Broadway musical "Jelly's Last Jam" in the role of Anita
1996:
Returned to series TV, once again play Bill Cosby's wife on the CBS sitcom "Cosby"
1999:
Played an overprotective mother of a womanizer in "Loving Jezebel"
2000:
Lent her voice to Bill Cosby's animated series "Little Bill" (CBS) as Bill's mother Brenda
2001:
Appeared alongside Hill Harper in Charles Randolph-Wright's off-Broadway play "Blue"
2004:
Offered a Tony award-winning performance as Lena Younger in the revival of "Raisin in the Sun"
2005:
Starred on Broadway in "Gem of the Ocean"; earned a Tony nomination for her role
2008:
Starred in Debbie Allen's revival of Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" at the Broadhurst Theatre
2008:
Reprised her role of Lena Younger in the television adaptation of "Raisin in the Sun" (ABC); received Emmy and SAG nominations for Best Actress in a TV-Movie
2009:
Assumed the role of matriarch Violet Weston in Tracy Letts' "August: Osage County" on Broadway
2010:
Co-starred with Queen Latifah in "Just Wright"
2010:
Joined an ensemble cast for Tyler Perry's "For Colored Girls"
2012:
Re-teamed with writer, director, and co-star Perry in drama feature "Good Deeds"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

New York School of Ballet: New York , New York -
Howard University: Washington , Washington D.C. - 1970

Notes

Rashad was directed by her sister Debbie Allen in the made-for-TV film, "Polly" (1989), an adaptation of "Pollyanna" which appeared on "The Magical World of Disney". She has also opened Bill Cosby's stage acts in Atlantic City, Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas on several occasions.

Rashad's other stage appearances include "Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death" (1971), "The Duplex" (1972), "A Raisin in the Sun" (1984), the title role of Zora Neale Hurston in "Zora" (1981) and the Witch in "Into the Woods" (1988). Her many appearances with the Negro Ensemble Company include "Zooman and the Sign" (1980-81), "In an Upstate Motel" (1981), and "Puppetplay" (1983).

She and her mother spearheaded the renovation of the historic Brainerd Institute in South Carolina. The school was founded in 1866 by Presbyterian ministers as an educational establishment for freed slaves. Rashad's mother was one of the last graduates from the Institute.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
William Lancelot Bowles Jr. Dentist. Her first husband; divorced in 1975.
husband:
Victor Willis. Singer. Married in 1978; divorced in 1980.
husband:
Ahmad Rashad. Professional football player, sportscaster. Married 1985; proposed on-air during a Thanksgiving Day football broadcast for which he was commentator; born November 19, 1949; filed for divorce February 2001.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Andrew Arthur Allen. Dentist.
mother:
Vivian Ayers. Poet, scholar. Her first published work, "Spice of Dawns" earned her a Pulitzer Prize nomination.
brother:
Andrew Arthur Allen Jr. Jazz musician. Born on October 2, 1945.
sister:
Debbie Allen. Actor, director, dancer, choreographer. Born on January 16, 1950; Emmy-winning star of TV series, "Fame"; also appeared on television in "Roots" (1977), on Broadway in such shows as the revivals of "West Side Story" (1980) and "Sweet Charity" (1986); has also directed many episodes of TV sitcoms, especially "A Different World", which she also produced.
son:
William Lancelot Bowles III. Born c. 1973.
daughter:
Condola Phylea Rashad. Born c. 1987.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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