Phylicia Rashad

Active - 1987 - Present  |   Born - Jun 19, 1948 in Houston, Texas, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Children's/Family

Share on

A talented Broadway actress who shot to fame with her portrayal of loving mother-of-five and high-powered attorney Claire Huxtable in television's The Cosby Show, Phylicia Rashad's strong television presence has lent itself to numerous dramatic roles in the years since her role as the member of one of the most famous families in television history.

Born the daughter of a dentist in Texas in 1948, Rashad's (born Phylicia Allen) continual focus on her potential as an actress has attracted her to roles of integrity and honesty, with generally family friendly fare that can be enjoyed by young and old alike. After making her television debut in the 1978 production of The Wiz, Rashad appeared in such soap operas as One Life to Live and Santa Barbara before settling into an eight-year run as mother to one of television history's most beloved families (during which period she would also star with television daughter Keshia Knight Pulliam in a pair of television movies based on the popular children's character Polly). Married to Village People member Victor Willis in 1975, Rashad would later wed former Minnesota Viking and sports announcer Ahmad Rashad (who extravagantly proposed to her during a televised football game) in 1985. Continuing her television career following the end of The Cosby Show's run, Rashad would also turn up in such made-for-television thrillers as The Possession of Michael D. and The Babysitter's Seduction (both 1995) before once again joining television husband Bill Cosby in 1996's Cosby. A well-known member of numerous charities including the Diabetes Association African-American Program and the Educational Teacher's Association, Rashad has strived to bring social issues to the small screen with roles in such thoughtful productions as Uncle Tom's Cabin (1985) and Once Upon a Time...When We Were Colored (1996). Though many female actors lament the glass ceiling that prevents them from obtaining roles in their later years, Rashad's maturity brings a distinctive presence to her roles in such dramatic television productions as Free of Eden (1999) and The Old Settler (2001). Over the next several years, Rashad would prove as consistent a force on screen as ever, appearing in movies like For Colored Girls and Good Deeds, as well as on TV series like Psych and Everybody Hates Chris.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography


  • Mother Vivian Ayers is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet. 
  • Debuted on Broadway as a Munchkin in the original 1975 production of The Wiz; remained a cast member for three years.
  • Released the album Josephine Superstar in 1978, a disco-themed telling of the life of black actress and performer Josephine Baker.
  • First TV role came in 1983 when she joined the cast of the ABC soap One Life to Live.
  • Married her third husband, sports commentator Ahmad Rashad, in 1985, after he memorably proposed to her on national TV during coverage of a Thanksgiving Day football game. O.J. Simpson served as best man. 
  • Was the first black woman to win a Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play (the 2004 revival of A Raisin in the Sun).