Debbie Allen is a multi-faceted American actress known for her impressive work in the fields of dance, choreography, television direction, television production and was later inducted into the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities by President George W. Bush in 2001. Debbie was born on the 1950, 16th of January to a Pulitzer awardee mother and orthodontist father.
Apart from a performing artist career spanning almost three decades, Allen holds a B.A. degree in Greek literature, speech, and theater from the Howard University. Allen was also additionally bestowed the honoris causa honorary doctorates for her outstanding contribution to the arts by the Howard University and the University of North Carolina. She is accredited with winning three Emmy awards for choreography and eventually the prestigious Golden Globe award for Best Actress in 1982 for her work in Fame a musical drama. In recent times Allen has earned accolades by portraying the role of the Catherine Avery in the highly popular show Grey’s Anatomy.
She was hailed a legend who is the guiding force behind the show by being its executive producer. Debbie is enormously followed by fans due to her well known work in the Broadway shows like Raisin, West Side Story and others which earned her Tony Award nominations. In 2008 she tailored the Pulitzer Award winning drama Tennessee William’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof for an All African American production which was a runaway success. The Hollywood Reporter lauded her for her efforts as the producer-director in the television series A Different World which aired on NBC. The report commented on how she was responsible for making it a “lively comedy” in spite of dealing with serious topics like racial struggles.
The series dealt primarily with issues related to the lives of Black college students who struggled to make it through college and touched on the larger issues of race and class relations. Allen as a young performing artist was on the verge of quitting as she met with rejection after rejection in her pursuit as dancer and choreographer. Her capacity to become a successful dancer was repeatedly frustrating as she was told her body type; the African American one, was too muscular to be promoted as an ideal dancer’s body form and not suited for ballet. She then decided to focus on her academic career. Eventually, Allen was recognized for her work, and she was privileged with a star placed on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood in 1991. On the personal front Debbie lives with her husband, former NBA basketball player Norm Nixon, and together they have one daughter dancer Vivian Nicole Nixon and a son Norman Ellard Nixon Jr, who is a NBA player.