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JUST WRIGHT

PHYLICIA RASHAD (Ella McKnight) is a native of Houston, Texas who graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theater from Howard University.

Ms. Rashad recently made her directorial debut at the helm of The Seattle Repertory Theatre's production of August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean. Broadway credits include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Gem of the Ocean, A Raisin in the Sun (2004 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play/Drama Desk Award), Blue, Jelly's Last Jam, Into the Woods, Dreamgirls, The Wiz and Ain't Supposed To Die A Natural Death. Off Broadway credits include Lincoln Center's productions of Cymbeline and Bernarda Alba; Helen, The Story and Everybody's Ruby at the NYSF Public Theatre; The Negro Ensemble Company productions of Puppet Play, Zooman and the Sign, Sons and Fathers of Sons, In An Upstate Motel, Weep Not For Me, and The Great Mac Daddy; Lincoln Center's production of Ed Bullins' The Duplex; and The Sirens at the Manhattan Theatre Club. In regional theatre, she performed as Euripedes' Medea and in Blues for and Alabama Sky at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. Other regional theatres at which she has performed are The Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. and the Huntington Theatre in Boston.

Known to television audiences for her role as Claire Huxtable on "The Cosby Show” and as Ruth Lucas on the CBS sitcom, "Cosby,” she received the NAACP Image Award for "Best Actress in a Comedy Series” for both of these roles. She has also been nominated for two Emmy Awards and has received two People's Choice Awards.

Feature Film credits include: ONCE UPON A TIME WHEN WE WERE COLORED, directed by Tim Reid, FREE OF EDEN opposite Sydney Poitier, LOVING JEZEBEL directed by Kwyn Bader and THE VISIT directed by Jordan Walker Pearlman.

Television film credits include: "A Raisin in the Sun” (2008 Emmy nomination), "The Old Settler” (AFI nomination) directed by Debbie Allen, "David's Mother,” "False Witness,” "Jailbirds,” "Polly” and "Polly Comin' Home.” Other television appearances include "Touched by an Angel,” "Blossom” and "A Different World.” 

As an active participant in charitable and nonprofit organizations, Ms. Rashad supports the work of the PRASAD Project, an international charitable organization and is a member of the Broadway Inspirational Voices. In addition to supporting these organizations, Ms. Rashad is dedicated to the importance of the Fine Arts in Education.

Ms. Rashad has received honorary doctorates from Providence College in Rhode Island, Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Clark University, and Barber-Scotia College and is a recipient of the Harvard University Foundation Award. In 1999 she was the recipient of the Dorothy L. Height Dreamaker Award sponsored by the National Council of Negro Women Inc. in association with Aunt Jemima/The Quaker Oats Company. In December of 2001, Ms. Rashad was honored by the Board of Directors of New York Women in Film and Television with The Muse Award for Outstanding Vision and Achievement.

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