Debbie Allen - Rotten Tomatoes

Debbie Allen



African American actress/dancer Debbie Allen had built up a solid reputation as a Broadway choreographer by the time she made her screen debut in The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh (1979). In 1980, she created the role of demanding dance instructor Lydia Grant in Fame (1980), a role she carried over into the long-running TV series of the same name. Each and every episode of this five-season series began with Debbie addressing a roomful of students: "You want fame?...Well, fame costs. And the price is sweat." Practicing what she preached, Debbie not only co-starred in the series but directed several episodes and handled the choreography, winning a brace of Emmies in the process. She went on to be nominated for a Tony award for the 1986 Broadway revival of Sweet Charity. The older sister of Cosby Show co-star Phylicia Rashad, Debbie Allen has herself remained active on the small screen, in the early '90s mapping out the production numbers of the annual Academy Awards telecast and in the mid-'90s co-starring with rapper LL Cool J on the weekly NBC sitcom In the House. In 1997 she was one of the producer's of Steven Spielberg's period drama Amistad. Four years later she directed and starred in the made-for-TV drama The Old Settler opposite her sister. She played herself in the remake of the TV show Fame. She continued directing for television including episodes of That's So Raven, and the Lifetime movie biopic The Fantasia Barrino Story: Life Is Not a Fairy Tale. In 2009 she returned to her roots yet again by playing the principal of the high school for performing arts that is the setting for the 2009 big-screen remake of Fame.

Photos

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet A Star For Rose
  • Rose
2013
25% Fame
  • Principal Simms
2009
21% Next Day Air
  • Ms. Jackson
2009
No Score Yet Life Is Not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story
  • Director
2006
No Score Yet Soldiers of Change
  • Bertha Lee Gilmore
  • Executive Producer
2006
No Score Yet Tournament of Dreams
  • Rhonda Dillins
2005
No Score Yet That's So Raven - Supernaturally Stylish
  • Director
2003
No Score Yet Soldiers of Change (The Painting)
  • Bertha Lee Gilmore
  • Executive Producer
2002
No Score Yet All About You
  • Ruth
2001
No Score Yet The Old Settler
  • Director
  • Quilly McGrath
2001
No Score Yet Michael Jordan: An American Hero
  • Deloris Jordan
1999
No Score Yet Kirk Franklin - The Nu Nation Tour
  • Director
1999
No Score Yet It's Black Entertainment
  • Actor
1999
76% Amistad
  • Producer
1997
No Score Yet Images & Realities: African American Women
  • Actor
1996
No Score Yet Out of Sync
  • Manicurist
  • Director
1995
13% Blank Check
  • Yvonne
1994
No Score Yet Polly
  • Director
1989
No Score Yet Liberty Weekend
  • Actor
1986
55% Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling
  • Michelle
1986
No Score Yet Celebrity
  • Regina Brown
1985
No Score Yet Everything's Jake
  • Librarian
1984
No Score Yet Alice at the Palace
  • Actor
1982
90% Ragtime
  • Sarah
1981
83% Fame
  • Lydia
1980
No Score Yet The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh
  • Ola
1979

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet So You Think You Can Dance
2005
  • Judge
  • Appearing
100% Insecure
2016
  • Director
90% How to Get Away With Murder
2014
  • Director
No Score Yet The Talk
2010
  • Guest
No Score Yet Dance Moms
2011-2016
  • Appearing
71% Grey's Anatomy
2005
  • Catherine Avery Dr. Catherine Avery
  • Director
  • Executive Producer
64% Hellcats
2010-2011
  • Director
100% Jane the Virgin
2014
  • Director
No Score Yet Great Performances
2000
  • Actor
70% Witches of East End
2013-2014
  • Director
86% Empire
2015
  • Director
94% Scandal
2012
  • Director
No Score Yet FABLife
2015
  • Guest
97% Survivor's Remorse
2014
  • Director
No Score Yet The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
1990-1996
  • Director
The Twilight Zone
2002-2003
  • Director

Quotes from Debbie Allen's Characters