Phylicia Rashād is an American actress, singer and stage director, known for her role as Clair Huxtable on the NBC sitcom The Cosby Show (1984–92), which earned her Emmy Award nominations in 1985 and 1986. She was dubbed "The Mother Of The Black Community" at the 2010 NAACP Image Awards.
Actress Phylicia Rashad was born in Houston, Texas to Andrew Allen, a dentist, and Vivian Ayers, a Pulitzer Prize nominated poet and playwright. Rashad’s siblings are also entertainers; her brother “Tex” Arthur Allen Jr. is a jazz musician and her sister, Debbie Allen, is a well-known actress, dancer, and choreographer.
Rashad graduated from a Houston high school in 1965 and enrolled at Howard University in Washington, D.C. where she studied theater. She graduated magna cum laude in 1970 with a Bachelor’s degree in fine arts.
In 1972 Rashad married her first husband William Lancelot Bowles Jr. with whom she had one son, William Lancelot Bowles III. The marriage was short lived and the two were divorced in 1975. In 1978 Rashad married a fellow Wiz cast member, Victor Willis, the original lead singer of the Village People. In 1978 Rashad married a fellow Willis helped produce Rashad’s album Josephine Superstar, a disco album which told the life story of singer Josephine Baker. Rashad and Willis were divorced in 1982. In 1985 Rashad married her third husband, former NFL wide receiver and sportscaster, Ahmad Rashad. That marriage would also end in divorce in 2001.
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Rashad moved to New York City where she began her Broadway career. The actress’s early roles include that of Deena Jones in Dreamgirls and a munchkin in The Wiz.
In 1983 Rashad began her career in television with a role on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live.
The following year comedian Bill Cosby approached Rashad to read for a part on his new NBC sitcom, The Cosby Show. The show centered on the Huxtables, an affluent black family living in New York City.
Rashad was cast as Clair Huxtable, an attorney, and wife of Heathcliff Huxtable (played by Cosby), a successful obstetrician. The Cosby Show was a huge success and ran for eight seasons, ending in 1992. Rashad’s performance as Clair Huxtable earned her two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series.
Rashad returned to television in 1996 starring in Bill Cosby’s new CBS situation comedy, Cosby, which was loosely based on the British sitcom, One Foot in the Grave. Cosby told the story of Hilton Lucas, a middle-class New York City man forced into early retirement. Rashad played Lucas’s wife Ruth. The show ran for four seasons ending in 2000.
After Cosby, Rashad returned to the stage. In 1999 she portrayed novelist and playwright Zora Neale Hurston in the Broadway drama, Everybody’s Ruby.
In 2004 she played Lena Younger in the Broadway revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. For her performance Rashad became the first African American actress to win the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Broadway Play.
In 2008, she appeared in the television movie adaptation of A Raisin in the Sun. The film was nominated for a Golden Globe, and Rashad received another Emmy nomination for her performance.
In November 2010, Rashad featured as Gilda in the ensemble cast in the Tyler Perry film For Colored Girls, based on the play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf by Ntozake Shange.
In 2012, she starred in another Tyler Perry movie Good Deeds.
Also in 2012, Rashad played Clairee Belcher in the remake of Steel Magnolias (the role originated by Olympia Dukakis). This version has an all African American A-list cast, including Queen Latifah as M'Lynn, Jill Scott as Truvy, Condola Rashād as Shelby, Adepero Oduye as Annelle, and Alfre Woodard as Ouiser.
In 2016, Rashad was cast as a recurring guest star in the role of Diana DuBois in the third season of the Lee Daniels-produced Empire television series on Fox.
In 2017, Rashad portrayed Bishop Yvette A. Flunder, pastor of The City of Refuge Church in San Francisco, CA, as past of the Dustin Lance Black mini-series When We Rise. Her appearance in the show highlighted the reputed compassion of the church, the commitment of its leadership and the loving home the church provides to minister in the tough, primarily African-American community in San Francisco.
In 2020, she was among the cast of Black Box fim.
|Born||19th June, 1948|
|Home City||Houston, Texas, U.S.|