September 20, 1917|
Buckingham County, Virginia, U.S.
|Died||May 30, 2011
Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.
|Occupation||Stage, television & film actress|
Born in Buckingham County, Virginia but raised in Harlem, New York, Taylor was best known for her recurring role on television on The Cosby Show as Dr. Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable's (Bill Cosby) mother, Anna Huxtable. She was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1986 for the role. She was also a regular on Nurse, played Harriet on Sesame Street, and appeared as Grady's cousin Emma on Sanford and Son.
Taylor started working in the theatre—with the American Negro Theatre—at a time when there were few opportunities for African-American actors. To support herself she followed in the footsteps of her father, Leon B. Taylor, Sr., and went to work for the U.S. Post Office. In the 1960s she got her big break that enabled her to act full-time. Taylor was one of the founding members of the Negro Ensemble Company, headquartered in New York's East Village on St. Mark's Place.
While working with the NEC she got her first offer of a movie role in Change of Mind. Her next film role was as "Minnie" in Otto Preminger's Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon. In 1971 she played Birdie in Clint Eastwood's Play Misty For Me. In 1973, she brought a role she had pioneered off-Broadway to film, playing Gladys Brooks in Five on the Blackhand Side.
Taylor appeared in The Wiz as Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North. Her most recent performance was in a touring production of her own one-woman show, Moms, for which she won an Obie Award in 1987 for best performance by an actress. Her most recent film appearance was a small role in Wayne Wang's film Smoke.
Clarice Taylor died at her home in Englewood, New Jersey from congestive heart failure, aged 93. She is survived by her two adopted sons: William and James Thomas, her daughter-in-law, Gizele, and four grandchildren: Jason, Kristen, Raul Jr. and Jared. and her beloved nephews Lee and Rick Taylor.
- "Clarice Taylor of 'The Cosby Show' dies at 93". Boston.com. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
- "Cosby Show Actress Clarice Taylor Dies". People.com. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
- Hevesi, Dennis (June 2, 2011). "Clarice Taylor Dies at 93; TV’s Cosby Called her Mom". The New York Times.