Phylicia Rashad born June 19, 1948 is an American actress and singer. She is known for her role as Clair Huxtable on the NBC sitcom The Cosby Show (1984–1992) 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 and played Ruth Lucas on Cosby (1996–2000).

In 2004, Rashad became the first black actress to win the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play, which she won for her role in the revival of A Raisin in the Sun. Her other Broadway credits include Into the Woods (1988), Jelly’s Last Jam (1993), Gem of the Ocean (2004), and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (2008). Rashad won a NAACP Image Award when she reprised her A Raisin in the Sun role in the 2008 television adaptation. She has also appeared in the films For Colored Girls (2010), Good Deeds (2012), Creed (2015), and Creed II (2018). She also voiced Brenda Glover on the Nick Jr. animated children’s educational television series Little Bill (1999–2004).

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the National Collegiate Performing Arts (NCPA)TM and UpStaged Entertainment Group, has announced Phylicia Ayers-Allen as one of its 31 for 31 days of March most empowering dynamic women – throughout business, politics and entertainment – who got their start in college performing arts.

Phylicia Ayers-Allen was born on June 19, 1948, in Houston, Texas. Her mother, Vivian Ayers, is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated artist, poet, playwright, scholar, and publisher. Her father, Andrew Arthur Allen, was an orthodontist. Rashad’s siblings are jazz-musician brother Tex (Andrew Arthur Allen Jr.); sister Debbie Allen, an actress, choreographer, and director; and brother Hugh Allen (a real estate banker in North Carolina). While Rashad was growing up, her family moved to Mexico, and as a result, she speaks Spanish fluently.

Rashad studied at Howard University, graduating magna cum laude in 1970 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. While there, she was initiated into the Alpha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Photo Credit: The Heart Truth