Broadway, Film, and Television Actress/Director
Phylicia Rashad, a member since 2013, has brought laughter to millions of television viewers around the world, moved theatre-goers to tears, thrilled movie fans, offered new insights to students by teaching master classes at renowned learning institutions that include Howard University, Julliard, and Carnegie Mellon, served on boards of prestigious organizations, and broken new ground as a director. She is one of the entertainment world's most extraordinary performing artists. She became a household name when she portrayed “Claire Huxtable” on The Cosby Show, earning numerous honors and awards for over two decades. She teamed up with Bill Cosby in later years on television as “Ruth Lucas” on Cosby.
She portrayed the role of Dr. Vanessa Young in the NBC series, Do No Harm. She has also been a force on the stage, appearing both on and off-Broadway, often in projects that showcase her musical talent such as "Jelly's Last Jam, "Into The Woods, "Dreamgirls" and "The Wiz" as well as dramatic roles in August Osage County (“Violet Weston”), in Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (“Big Mama” -- a role that she reprised on the London Stage), in August Wilson’s Gem Of The Ocean, (“Aunt Ester” --Tony Award nomination), and in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline (“Queen Britannia”) at Lincoln Center.
She received both the Drama Desk and the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play, as “Lena Younger” in the Broadway revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin In The Sun. She appeared in Tyler Perry's Good Deeds, and starred in his highly acclaimed film version of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf. She received Critics’ rave reviews for her directorial debut at the Seattle Repertory Theatre with August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean, and for The Ebony Repertory Theatre’s production of A Raisin in the Sun in the spring of 2011. She recently directed August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.
She is the first recipient of the Denzel Washington Chair in Theatre at Fordham University, and has received Honorary Doctorates from Spelman College, Fordham University, Carnegie Mellon University, Howard University, Providence College, Morris Brown College, Clark Atlanta University, Barber Scotia College, St. Augustine College, and Brown University. She serves on the Advisory Board of the PRASAD Project and the Board of Directors of True Colors Theatre, the Broadway Inspirational Voices, The Actors Center, the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University, and the ADEPT Center, which is steering the restoration of the historic Brainerd Institute. A native of Houston, Texas, she graduated magna cum laude from Howard University.