Debbie Allen (born Deborrah Kaye Allen on January 16, 1950 in Houston, Texas) is an American actress, choreographer, film director, television producer and a member of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
She earned a B.A. degree in classical Greek literature, speech, and theater from Howard University and holds honorary doctorates from both her alma mater and the North Carolina School for the Arts. She has starred in film and on Broadway she earned two Tony Award nominations.
Allen played the role of Lydia Grant in the 1980 movie Fame and its follow-up 1982 television show of the same name. Also lead choreographer for the franchise, she won two Emmy Awards and one Golden Globe Award. She then spun-off the Fame franchise into a reality show in 2003 but it met with only limited success .
She has directed many television programs including the sitcom, A Different World, choreographed the Academy Award show for five consecutive years, and has developed and produced films as Amistad with Steven Spielberg.
She teaches young dancers at her Debbie Allen Dance Academy. She also taught choreography to former L.A. Laker dancer-turned singer, Paula Abdul.
In 2001, Debbie Allen was appointed by President George W. Bush as a member of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
Allen is also the sister of actress Phylicia Rashad, aka Phylicia Ayers-Allen, and is married to former NBA player Norm Nixon. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.