Worked With:

Gina Rodriguez

Kerry Washington

Ellen Pompeo

Julia Ormond

Wendy Davis

Cat Deeley

Jennifer Love Hewitt

Sharon Leal

Mike Epps

Terry Crews

Paul Iacono

Debbie Allen Biography

Home > Actresses > A > Allen, Debbie > Biography

Birth Name: Debbie Allen
Born: 01/16/1950
Birth Place: Houston, Texas, USA

Allen joined the already popular "Cosby Show" spin-off, "A Different World" (NBC, 1987-93), during its second season as producer and primary director. Under her guidance, the show found its focus, hit its stride and became a ratings powerhouse. Along with Cosby, Allen became one of contemporary TV's leading proponents of Black bourgeois values. She has numerous directing credits on such family-oriented sitcoms as "The Cosby Show", "Family Ties", and "The Sinbad Show". She also helmed the 1990 NBC pilot for the hit sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air". Allen also proved adept as a director of hour long TV drama with two episodes of "Quantum Leap".

Allen may be most widely known to international audiences as the choreographer of the annual Academy Awards presentations since 1991. Though the sometimes unseemly and vulgar production numbers have received their share of critical brickbats, several linger in the memory for their sheer audacity.

Allen returned to the regular grind of a weekly sitcom as the co-star, opposite rapper-turned-actor LL Cool J, of "In the House" (NBC, 1995-96), a family sitcom about a once wealthy divorced mother who finds herself sharing a household with a former pro football player. Her feature acting credits include Milos Forman's "Ragtime" (1981), Richard Pryor's semi-autobiographical "Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling" (1986) and the Disney family comedy "Blank Check" (1994).

Since the 80s, Allen has been more active behind the camera, helming the Disney musical comedy remake "Polly" (NBC, 1989) and its 1990 sequel "Polly Comin' Home!" (both of which featured her sister Phylicia Rashad) and the feature "Out of Sync" (1995). She also provided choreography for Billy Crystal's "Forget Paris" (1995). In 1997, Allen realized a long-held dream of producing the film "Amistad", directed by Steven Spielberg, which recounted the story of an 1839 revolt on a Spanish slave ship and court battle for the Africans freedom.