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Born:June 19, 1948 (age 73)HoustonTexas...(Show more)Awards and also Honors:Tony Awards (2004)...(Show more)Notable Works:“A autumn from Grace”...(Show more)

Phylicia Rashad, née Phylicia Ayers Allen, (born June 19, 1948, Houston, Texas, U.S.), American actress who first gained fame for her work-related in the television collection The Cosby Show (1984–92) and also later came to be the an initial African American mrs to success (2004) a Tony compensation for best actress; she won the honour because that her performance in the beat A Raisin in the Sun.

Allen to be the 2nd of four children born to Andrew Arthur Allen, a dentist, and also Vivian Ayers Allen, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet. She elder brother, Andrew Arthur (“Tex”) Allen, Jr., go on to end up being a jazz musician, and also her sister, Debbie Allen, was a dancer, actress, and also television producer and director. In 1970 she graduated from Howard University, Washington, D.C., through a B.F.A. In theatre. Shortly thereafter she discovered work v the black Ensemble firm in brand-new York City. Allen make her an initial appearance ~ above Broadway in 1972 and had minor functions in the fight musicals The Wiz (1975) and Dreamgirls (1981) prior to making the transition to television.


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In 1982 Allen landing a regular function on the daytime soap opera One Life come Live. Two years later on comedian invoice Cosby decided her for the duty of his wife, attorney Clair Huxtable, in the groundbreaking case comedy The Cosby Show, which ran from 1984 to 1992. After ~ marrying (1985) sports broadcaster Ahmad Rashad, she started using his lock professionally (the pair divorced in 2001). Her duty as Clair—graceful but assertive, dignified yet devoted—became a specifying one because that Rashad and also earned her 2 Emmy compensation nominations. She likewise played Cosby’s mam in the series Cosby (1996–2000).


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scene indigenous The Cosby Show
Phylicia Rashad (centre) and Bill Cosby (standing left) through other actors members of The Cosby Show.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, Rashad went back to the stage while proceeding to work steadily top top television. She portrayal of the semi-mythical Aunt Ester in august Wilson’s Gem the the Ocean (2003) in productions in Los Angeles and also on Broadway winner enthusiastic praise. In 2004 she starred together Lena Younger, the matriarch of a struggling african American household in 1950s Chicago, in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. In enhancement to earning a Tony compensation for finest actress, Rashad likewise received a 2004 Drama workdesk Award. She later starred in a tv adaptation (2008) the the play.


In 2007 Rashad made her directorial debut at the helm the the Seattle Repertory Theatre’s manufacturing of Gem of the Ocean. The adhering to year she again made background on Broadway when Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a hot Tin Roof opened up with its an initial all-black cast. With costar James Earl Jones, Rashad—in the role of large Mama—anchored the production, which collection Williams’s story of a wealthy southern planter’s morally foundering household at a eliminate from its initial Jim Crow-era time frame to accommodate the afri American cast. In 2009 she depicted a drug-addicted matriarch in the Broadway manufacturing of Tracy Letts’s August: Osage County.

Rashad’s appearances on the silver display screen were somewhat sporadic. In 2010 she performed in the romantic comedy Just Wright and also the mental-illness story Frankie & Alice and the ensemble drama For colored Girls, Tyler Perry’s movie adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s 1975 theatre piece For colored Girls that Have taken into consideration Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf. Rashad later appeared in Perry’s romantic drama Good Deeds (2012) and also in a TV movie adaptation (2012) the the beat Steel Magnolias. Just like Cat on a hot Tin Roof, the latter work featured a mainly African American cast, in contrast to its original stage and film productions.

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In 2013 Rashad played the ceo of a operated doctor afflicted with a Jekyll-and-Hyde-like personality disorder in the TV collection Do No Harm. She later had actually recurring roles in Empire and This Is Us; her occupational in the latter collection earned her two Emmy nominations. She was also cast together the location character’s teacher in the TV collection David provides Man (2019– ). In addition, Rashad continued to appear in movies, notably portraying the widow the boxer Rocky Balboa’s friend (and former opponent) Apollo Creed in the Rocky (1976) sequels Creed (2015) and also Creed II (2018). In 2020 she showed up in Perry’s crime drama A autumn from Grace and also the horror film Black Box. The year she lent she voice to Pixar’s Soul.