just plain sara: Style Flashback: Phylicia Rashād

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Style Flashback: Phylicia Rashād

Every one's favorite TV mom has probably one of the most accomp- lished yet under- appreciated careers in Hollywood. She more than deserves a "Style Flashback" spotlight. Phylicia Rashād, aka Claire Huxtable, was born in Houston, Texas in 1948. She graduated from Howard University, where she later went back to teach drama. Rashād first became notable on the stage with a string of Broadway credits, including Deena Jones in Dreamgirls (she was Sheryl Lee Ralph's understudy until she left the show in 1982 after Rashad was passed over as Ralph's full-time replacement). Of course, Rashād is best known for her role as attorney Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show. She played the no-nonsense mother of five for eight years then later returned to TV comedy in 1996 with CBS's Cosby. Her role in The Cosby Show earned her two Emmy Award nominations. In 2003, she was honored as Woman of the Year by the Harvard Black Men's Forum. In 2005, Rashād received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts (D.F.A.) degree from Brown University. Most recently, Rashād became the first African-American actress to win the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play, for her role in the revival of A Raisin in the Sun. I saw this play on opening night and the scene where she discovers that Walter Lee has lost all the father's money brought me to tears. Nowadays you can catch Rashād plugging Jenny Craig diets during commercial breaks, but I personally love watching re-runs of her keeping the Huxtables in check. No one could keep 'em in line like Mrs. Huxtable!

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