Phylicia Rashād (née Ayers-Allen; June 19, 1948) is an American Tony Award-winning actress and singer, best known for her role as Clair Huxtable on the long-running NBC sitcom The Cosby Show, which earned her Emmy Award nominations in 1985 and 1986. She reprised her role on the sitcom A Different World.
She's also known for her roles as Eloise Parker in The Beekeeper, Mary Anne Creed in the Creed film trilogy, Dr. Woods-Trap on OWN's David Makes Man, Dr. Vanessa Young on the drama series Do No Harm, Clairee in the remake of Steel Magnolias (2012), Wilimena Deeds in Tyler Perry's Good Deeds, Edna in Frankie & Alice, Gilda in For Colored Girls, Ella McKnight in Just Wright, Lena Younger in the remake of A Raisin in the Sun, and Ruth Lucas on the sitcom Cosby (1996–2000). She also voiced Libba Gardner in the animated movie Soul, and Brenda Glover in Nickelodeon's animated series Little Bill.
She has had recurring roles as Renetta Clark on The Good Fight, Carol Clarke on Thus is Us, Pastor on 13 Reasons Why, Diana Dubois on Empire, Jane on Jean-Claude Van Johnson, Winnifred Guster on Psych and voice of Dee Dee Tubbs on The Cleveland Show. She's had guest roles on Station 19, Grey's Anatomy, Everybody Hates Chris, Touched by an Angel, Blossom, The Love Boat, Santa Barbara, and One Life to Live.
In 2004, she became the first African-American actress to win the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play, for her role as Lena Younger in the revival of A Raisin in the Sun. She reprised her role in the 2008 television adaption of A Raisin in the Sun, which earned her the 2009 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special.
In 2022, she won her second Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her performance in Dominique Morisseau's Skeleton Crew. 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). She has directed revivals of three plays by August Wilson, in major theaters in Seattle, Princeton, New Jersey; and Los Angeles.
She was dubbed "the mother" of the African-American community at the 42nd NAACP Image Awards.
She is dean of the College of Fine Arts at Howard University.
Her sister is actress Debbie Allen. Her first marriage (1972-1975), was to dentist William Lancelot Bowles, Jr.; they had one son, William Lancelot Bowles III. Her second marriage (1978-1982) was to Victor Willis, original lead singer of the Village People; they met during the run of The Wiz. Her third marriage (1985-2001) was to Ahmad Rashad, a former NFL wide receiver and sportscaster; they had a daughter, Condola Phylea Rashād. She has retained the surname Rashad.
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