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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 loss from Grace”...(Show more)

Phylicia Rashad, née Phylicia Ayers Allen, (born June 19, 1948, Houston, Texas, U.S.), American actress who very first gained fame because that her work in the television series The Cosby Show (1984–92) and also later ended up being the an initial African American woman to victory (2004) a Tony compensation for finest actress; she won the honour because that her power in the play A Raisin in the Sun.

Allen to be the 2nd of four youngsters 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 i graduated from Howard University, Washington, D.C., v a B.F.A. In theatre. Quickly thereafter she found work with the negro Ensemble agency in brand-new York City. Allen do her an initial appearance top top Broadway in 1972 and had minor duties in the struggle musicals The Wiz (1975) and Dreamgirls (1981) prior to making the shift to television.


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In 1982 Allen landed a regular function on the daytime soap opera One Life come Live. Two years later comedian invoice Cosby determined her because that the duty of his wife, lawyer Clair Huxtable, in the groundbreaking case comedy The Cosby Show, i beg your pardon ran native 1984 to 1992. After marrying (1985) sports broadcaster Ahmad Rashad, she started using his castle professionally (the couple divorced in 2001). Her role as Clair—graceful yet assertive, dignified but devoted—became a defining one for Rashad and earned her two Emmy compensation nominations. She likewise played Cosby’s wife in the series Cosby (1996–2000).


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scene from The Cosby Show
Phylicia Rashad (centre) and Bill Cosby (standing left) with other cast members that The Cosby Show.

During the 1990s and also early 2000s, Rashad went back to the phase while continuing to job-related steadily ~ above television. Her portrayal of the semi-mythical Aunt Ester in respectable Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean (2003) in productions in Los Angeles and also on Broadway won enthusiastic praise. In 2004 she starred as Lena Younger, the matriarch of a struggling african American family in 1950s Chicago, in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. In enhancement to earning a Tony compensation for ideal actress, Rashad likewise received a 2004 Drama desk Award. She later on starred in a tv adaptation (2008) the the play.


In 2007 Rashad made her directorial debut in ~ the helm that the Seattle Repertory Theatre’s production of Gem of the Ocean. The complying with year she again made background on Broadway once Tennessee Williams’s Cat ~ above a hot Tin Roof opened with its first all-black cast. With costar James Earl Jones, Rashad—in the duty of large Mama—anchored the production, which set Williams’s tale of a wealthy southern planter’s morally foundering family at a remove from its initial Jim Crow-era time structure to accommodate the afri American cast. In 2009 she shown a drug-addicted matriarch in the Broadway manufacturing of Tracy Letts’s August: Osage County.

Rashad’s appearances on the silver screen were somewhat sporadic. In 2010 she carry out in the romantic comedy Just Wright and also the mental-illness tale Frankie & Alice and the ensemble drama For colored Girls, Tyler Perry’s movie adaptation that Ntozake Shange’s 1975 theatre item For fancy Girls who Have considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf. Rashad later appeared in Perry’s romantic drama Good Deeds (2012) and in a TV movie adaptation (2012) of the beat Steel Magnolias. Similar to Cat on a warm 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 surgeon afflicted v a Jekyll-and-Hyde-like personality disorder in the TV collection Do No Harm. She later had recurring functions in Empire and also This Is Us; her work in the latter collection earned her two Emmy nominations. She was likewise cast as the title character’s teacher in the TV series David renders Man (2019– ). In addition, Rashad continued to show up in movies, notably portraying the widow that boxer Rocky Balboa’s girlfriend (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.