Deborrah Kaye “Debbie” Allen was born on January 16, 1950 in Houston, Texas. Her parents are Andrew Arthur Allen Jr. and Vivian Allen. Her father was an orthodontist, while her mother was a famous artist, poet, playwright, scholar and publisher. She also has siblings Phylicia Rashad and Tex Allen. After school, she enrolled in the Howard University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in classical Greek literature, speech, and theater. She reached H.C. Doctorates Degree from both Howard University and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She was very passionate and serious in her dreams and at the conscious age, she was planning to start her career.

She started her career in the middle of 70s. She has made her first appearance on the Broadway as a part of the chorus for “Purlie” musical. She also tried herself in other spheres and even created the role of Beneatha for the musical “Raisin”. She appeared in the mini series project “Roots: The Next Generations” in the 1979.

In the 1980 she appeared in the Broadway “West Side Story”, where she played the role of Anita. In the same year she has made her appearance in the movie “Fame”, with the secondary role of Lydia Grant. Later, during 1982-1985 she played Lydia again in the TV adaptation and also was nominated for the Emmy Award for Best Actress four times. In the 1981 she got the role of Sarah in the movie version of the novel “Ragtime”.

During her career on the Broadway, she was nominated numerous times. Due to her appearance in “West Side Story ”, she got her a Tony Award nomination. Later she was honored with the Drama Desk Award. She was nominated for Tony Award again in the 1986 after her performance in the “Sweet Charity”. She has made her appearance in numerous movies and tv shows like “Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling”, “Stompin’ At The Savoy”, “The Love Boat ”, “Alice At The Palace” and “Grey's Anatomy ”.

She opened her own Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles in the 2001, which was her old dream. She was a choreographer for such projects like “Molly Doodle”, “Carrie” and “The Academy Awards Show”. Currently, she is serving as a judge and mentor for the popular reality dance show “So You Think You Can Dance”. Additionally, she also is a regular columnist for Movement magazine. She also wrote and published her own book, which was titled “Dancing in the Wings Paperback”.

She was married twice. Her first husband was Win Wilford. They married in the 1975, but after eight years of marriage, they got to divorce. She married again to Norm Nixon, who is a former NBA player. The couple is blessed with three children, Vivian Nichole Nixon, DeVaughn Nixon and Norman Ellard Nixon Jr. Her daughter Vivian is a dancer, while her son Norman is a basketball player too. She has a net worth of 3 million dollars.

Last Modified: Apr 5, 2020

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