Phylicia Rashād is a remarkable creative American actress, stage director, and singer, thanks to her mother’s artistic influence. She has a lot of Broadway credits to her resume including A Raisin in the Sun, Into the Woods, Gem of the Ocean, Jelly’s Last Jam and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, just to mention a few. Being dubbed the mother of the black community, Phylicia has also made a name for herself in both film and TV shows debuting with Delvecchio, One Life to Live, The Cosby Show, Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored, Empire, Creed, among others.
Phylicia Rashād’s Bio
The Texas-born actress Phylicia Ayers-Allen was birthed to her parents, Arthur Allen and Vivian Ayers on June 19, 1948. Her father was a dentist and mother is the famous African American artist, poet, publisher and playwright who was a Pulitzer Prize nominee in 1952. Phylicia grew up with her three siblings; Andrew Arthur Allen Jr, Debbie Allen, and Hugh Allen in Mexico where the family relocated to for a while due to the pervasive racism which was the hallmark of Texas in those years, and as a result, Phylicia and her sister Debbie speak Spanish and Portuguese fluently.
The actress comes from an artistic family; her brother, Tex (Arthur) is a jazz musician and her sister, Debbie is an actress and dancer. The only deviation from the pattern came from her other brother, Hugh, who is a real estate banker in North Carolina. Phylicia attended Howard University, Washington, District of Columbia, US and graduated BFA in Theater in 1970. She was not only a Magna cum Laude but also a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Incorporated.
After graduation, Phylicia Rashād focused on a career in theatre performances. She made her Broadway debut as Munchkin in the play The Wiz, and she performed in the original 1975 production for three and half years. In 1978, she released her first studio album titled Josephine Superstar which dwelt on the life of Josephine Baker and was produced by Jacques Morali and Victor Willis.
Her acting credits include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, August: Osage County, Gem of the Ocean, Blue, Jelly’s Last Jam, Into the Woods, Cymbeline, Zooman and the Sign, Weep Not For Me, Head of Passes, The Great Mac Daddy, Sons and Fathers of Sons and The Story. In 2004, Phylicia won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in the play revival of A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry and she was the first black woman to have won the award.
For her role as Lena Younger in the same play, Phylicia and Viola Davis won (a tie) the Drama Desk award for Best Actress in 2004. She made her debut into directing in 2007 with Gem of the Ocean which was nominated for a Tony award. Others were Fences and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Phylicia launched into TV shows in 1976 playing an episode in Delvecchio as Venita Ray. She was also a cast member on the ABC soap One Life to Live as Courtney Wright from 1983 to 1984. The actress became most famous for her role as Clair Hanks Huxtable on the popular The Cosby Show, a role she portrayed from 1984 to 1992.
She was Bill Cosby’s executive producer for the TV comedy show Cosby in 1996, playing his wife Ruth Lucas and in 2002 she worked on the animation series Little Bill alongside Bill Cosby. Phylicia Rashād continued with other TV shows including Santa Barbara, The Love Boat, Psych, Sofia the First, Empire, Tour de Pharmacy and many others.
Her debut in film came in the 1995 film Once Upon a Time…When We Were Colored as Ma Ponk. Others were Loving Jezebel (1999), For Colored Girls (2010), Good Deeds (2012), Gods Behaving Badly (2013), Creed (2015), and Creed II (2018).
Married Life – Spouse, Daughter, Children
The actress was first married to William Lancelot Bowles Jr. in 1972, he was a dentist just like her father. Their marriage produced her first child, a son, William Lancelot Bowles III born in 1973 but they got divorced in 1975. She then married lead singer of the Village People band, Victor Willis in 1978 but again, the marriage ended in 1982. Her third marriage was to sports broadcaster, Ahmad Rashad in 1985, whose last name she adopted. They had a daughter named Condola Phylea Rashād who was born on December 11, 1986, and who is also an actress but like others before it, the marriage ended in 2001.
TV Husband – Bill Cosby
Phylicia Rashād’s on-screen husband is Bill Cosby from back in 2002 when she played his wife Ruth Lucas in the Bill Cosby show. After a length and highly publicized trial, Cosby was sentenced to 3-10 years in prison in 2018 for drug and sexual assault of Andrea Constand in 2004 and was registered as a sexually violent predator.