Clarice Taylor is a stage, film and television actress best known for her recurring role on television on The Cosby Show as Dr. Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable (Bill Cosby)'s mother, Anna Huxtable. She was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1986 for the role.
She was raised in New York City and 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 her father's (Leon B. Taylor Sr.) footsteps 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 the East Village on St. Marks Place. It was while working with the NEC that 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, who turns and stands up for herself in Five on the Blackhand Side.
Ms. Taylor made it to Broadway in the hit musical The Wiz, where she played Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North. She has worked steadily since then on stage, screen, and TV.