Debbie Allen hit it big in 1980, starring in a Broadway revival of West Side Story. Her performance gained her a Tony nomination and landed her a role as a dance instructor in the movie Fame (1980). The film developed right into a successful television spin-off in 1982, in which Allen co-starred and won three Emmy awards for choreography.
Very Early In Life
Actress, dancer and choreographer Deborrah Kaye Allen was given birth on January 16, 1950, in Houston, Texas, the third child of Pulitzer-winning poet Vivian Ayers, and dentist Arthur Allen. Allen was 3 when she began dancing. By the age of 4 she had become determined to be a professional performer, and her parents enrolled her in dance classes at the age of 5.
Allen’s parents divorced in 1957, leaving mother Vivian as the main caregiver for Debbie and her siblings. Under Vivian’s careful eye, the Allen children were expected to complete writing assignments to encourage their creativity, and each of them had to perform household chores to establish independence.