Clarice Taylor of Cosby Show and Sesame Street has Died

Posted by at 10:39 am on June 2, 2011

Veteran actress Clarice Taylor, who played Bill Cosby’s mother on “The Cosby Show,” died from heart failure Monday in Englewood, N.J., People and others report. She was 93.

Taylor was surrounded by her family when she died, a rep told the magazine.

Taylor was a veteran of stage, film, TV and radio. As a member of the New York stage group the Negro Ensemble Company,  she helped pave the way for black actors in the 1960s, People notes. She played Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North, in the original Broadway production of “The Wiz,” and won an Obie award in 1987 for “Moms,” a play about comedy legend Moms Mabley.

In the 1970s, she had a recurring role as Harriet on “Sesame Street.” She also appeared on shows including “Sanford and Son” and “Ironside,” in the 1980 miniseries “Beulah Land” and the TV movie “Purlie” in 1981.

Among her feature-film credits were Clint Eastwood’s 1971 thriller “Play Misty for Me” and the Richard Gere-Jodie Foster 1993 drama “Sommersby.”

But she is arguably widest known for her role as Anna Huxtable, the mother of Cosby’s pediatrician character Cliff Huxtable, on the landmark NBC sitcom. She earned an Emmy nomination for the role in 1986.

Taylor is survived by two sons and five grandchildren.

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