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“Turn that Clock Off!” Debbie Allen’s Illustrated Hollywood Career Spanning over Five Decades

Debbie Allen made history today by receiving the Governors Award at the Emmys

Debbie Allen is all over the news after winning the prestigious Governors Award at the 73rd annual Emmy Awards. She won it for her contributions to television as an actress, writer, producer, director, dancer, and choreographer. She is also applauded for inspiring and mentoring various marginalized youth, and for participating in the world of arts, and philanthropy.

As we celebrate Debbie Allen’s Governors Award win, let’s take a look at celebrated career

Let’s start from the ’70s

The celebrated star began her career in Broadway in the early ’70s, and acted in plays like Purlie, Raisin, and West Side Story. 

Hollywood knocked on her door in 1976. She started her career with Good Times and 3 Girls 3. It was soon followed by her own NBC variety show, and the 1979 miniseries The Next Generation. 

Debbie Allen's Celebrated Career
Debbie Allen on Fame

Her big break came when she got casted as Lydia Grant in Fame. Her role was small in the movie, but it soon expanded into a TV series by the same name that ran from 1982-87.

Allen soon became a prominent name and continued to star in TV programs. She starred in A Different World, a spin-off of The Cosby Show. It was about a group of students studying in a historically Black college. Debbie Allen herself graduated from Howard University with a degree in B.A. in classical Greek literature, speech and theatre.

Debbie Allen’s dancer and director hat

Debbie's dance school
Netflix

Allen was an artist in residence at the Kennedy Centre for over 15 years. Soon, she founded the Debbie Allen Dance Academy there. She has since choreographed for Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, James Earl Jones, Phylicia Rashad, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Gwen Verdon, Carmen de Lavallade, Diane Carrol, and many others.

Debbie Allen celebrated career
Instagram | Debbie Allen

In 2000s and 2010s, Allen directed television shows, including 44 episodes of All of Us. Allen continued her directorial stint further with Girlfriends, Everybody Hates Chris, How to Get Away With Murder, Empire, Scandal, and Jane The Virgin. In 2011, she joined the cast of ABC medical drama Grey’s Anatomy as of Dr. Catherine Fox. As of 12th season, she served as an executive producer and regular series director.

She also won two Tony Awards and was the recipient of a Kennedy Centre Honour in 2020.

Also read: First Ever Schitt’s Creek Reunion at Emmy Awards 2021 after the Show Ended

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