Fast Facts

  • 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).


  • 2008, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie: Nominee
  • 2005, Tony — Actress (Play): Nominee
  • 1985, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Female Performer in a New TV Program: Winner
  • 1989, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Female TV Performer: Winner
  • 2008, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Nominee
  • 2004, Tony — Actress (Play): Winner
  • 1986, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1985, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Nominee


  • Vivian Ayers — Mother
  • Andrew Arthur Allen Jr. — Brother
  • Vivian Nixon — Niece
  • William Lancelot Bowles Jr. — Ex-husband
  • Ahmad Rashad — Ex-husband
  • Condola Phylea Rashad — Daughter
  • Debbie Allen — Sister
  • William Lancelot Bowles III — Son
  • Victor Willis — Ex-husband
  • Andrew Arthur Allen — Father


  • Howard University, Washington, DC (BFA in Theater, 1970)

Next On TVSee all »


  • Birth Name: Phylicia Ayers-Allen
  • Birth Place: Houston, TX
  • Profession: Actor, Singer

Trending TonightSee all »

Watch This

The CW's Riverdale Is A Lot Like Dawson's Creek

The CW's Riverdale gang is a lot like these Dawson's Creek characters