Jan. 16th, 1950
Houston, Texas, USA
Debbie Allen's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles2009 - Fame
2009 - Next Day Air
2009 - The Compass
1994 - Blank Check
1981 - Ragtime
1980 - Fame
Guest TV Roles
Herself - Guest Judge
Dr. Catherine Avery
As a child Debbie, her older brother Andrew (called Tex) and older sister Phylicia lived in Mexico to escape US racism. Their mother Vivian Ayers decided to live there to give the Allen children a brief experience of not having to endure the chronic racism and segregation that was typical of Texas during the 1950s. From this, Debbie and Phylicia are fluent in Spanish.
Debbie graduated from Jack Yates Senior High School in Houston, TX in 1967. She graduated cum laude from Howard University in 1971 with a BFA in Classical Greek Literature, Speech, and Theater from Howard University. She used her experiences from attending Historically Black College Howard to inform her production and direction of the TV show "A Different World" (1987).
Although her parents divorced, Debbie remained extremely close to her father Arthur Allen, until his death. With Phylicia she has production company "D.A.D." which stood for "Doctor Allen's Daughters". Her Pulitzer-nominated poet mother Vivian is, the artistic and free spirit that has influenced and encouraged the remarkable creativity that so marks Allen as a performer.
- Her father passed away ten days after he accompanied her to the Emmy Awards Ceremony in which she won for Best Choreography for _"Fame" (1982)_ (qv).
- Ex-sister-in-law of 'Victor Willis (I)' (qv) and 'Ahmad Rashad' (qv).
- Her daughter Vivian is in the lead role of the Broadway musical "Hot Feet". Vivian was classically trained at Washington D.C.'s Kirov Academy of Ballet and at The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
- Has twice been nominated for Tony Awards: in 1980, as Best Actress (Featured Role -Musical) for a revival of "West Side Story," and in 1986, as Best Actress (Musical) for playing the title character in a revival of 'Bob Fosse' (qv)'s "Sweet Charity."
- Received an Honorary doctorate from The North Carolina School of the Arts, the same institution that denied her admittance to its dance department when she was sixteen years old; she was told then that she had the wrong type of body for dance.
- Authored children's books entitled, "Brothers of the Knight" and "Dancing in the Wings".
- Founder of the Debbie Allen Dance Institute in Culver City, CA.
- Her most notable role to date, that of "Lydia Grant" on the TV Series _"Fame" (1982)_ (qv), earned her three Emmy Nominations and one Golden Globe.