10 Things You Didn't Know About Debbie Allen

Dynamic factoids about Debbie Allen.


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Debbie Allen, a Woman We Love  - Debbie Allen is a director, choreographer and all-around creative that we love. Keep scrolling for more cool facts about the Houston-born Hot Chocolate Nutcracker creator. 

Talent Is in Her Blood 

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Talent Is in Her Blood  - Allen is the third child of Pulitzer Prize winning poet Vivian Ayers and dentist Arthur Allen, and she also has a famous sibling — Phylicia Rashad.  (Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images for BET)

Worldly Diva 

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Worldly Diva  - Allen's mother moved she and her siblings to Mexico shortly after divorcing their father. They didn't know anyone in Mexico, nor did they speak Spanish. It was to escape racial tension in the United States and simply because their mom often encouraged her children to be creative and free in living out their dreams.  (Photo: Angela Weiss/Getty Images for DADA)

Back in the States 

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Back in the States  - The family returned Stateside after about two years. It was then that 12-year-old Allen auditioned for the Houston Ballet School but got denied based on the color of her skin — despite the fact that her performance was good enough for admission.   (Photo: Cory Schwartz/Getty Images)

Still Winning 

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Still Winning  - A year after that denial, a Russian instructor at the school who saw Debbie perform secretly enrolled her. By the time the admissions department discovered the situation, they were so impressed with her skills that they let Allen stay. (Photo: Angela Weiss/Getty Images for Dizzy Feet Foundation)

Debbie Allen on President Obama - "Are things exactly the way I'd like them to be or need them to be? No, but he can get us there if he's given the time he needs to do it," the A Different World actress said in January. (Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

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The Rest Is History  - Allen went on to earn a BFA at Howard University.  (Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

The Break Through 

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The Break Through  - Her break through role came in 1980, after starring in a Broadway revival of West Side Story as Anita, a performance that earned her a Tony Award nomination.  (Photo: Gary Null/NBCU Photo Bank) 

Going Up 

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Going Up  - She then starred in the 1980 TV series Fame as a dance teacher. She went on to snag three Emmy Awards for choreography for the show and do other film and TV appearances.   (Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Debbie Allen & Phylicia Rashad - You might not know it, but choreographer Debbie Allen and actress Phylicia Rashad are indeed sisters. Born in Houston, both Allen and Rashad graduated from Howard University. (Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

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Dancing Diva - Allen's choreography was also featured at the Oscars over the course of a few years. (Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

Dynamic Production 

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Dynamic Production  - In 1997, she produced Steven Spielberg's epic Amistad.  (Photo: EDO /Landov)

One Direction 

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One Direction  - She also went on to direct, produce and choreograph several films and plays. Most recently, she directed an episode of Shonda Rhimes's How to Get Away With Murder.  (Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)