Here’s How Much Phylicia Rashad Is Really Worth

Phylicia Rashad is a veteran actor who became a global star after playing Clair Huxtable from 1984 to 1992 on the “The Cosby Show.” From the gate, the NBC series was a huge hit, and Rashad was largely considered the mom that everyone wanted. But despite having that iconic role, she’s almost just as known for being a stage star, having acted in a slew of plays since the ’80s. What’s more, she joined the world of academia to teach students acting. But before all of that? Rashad was born Phylicia Ayers-Allen in Houston, Texas in 1948, and raised in an artistic household: Her mother was a poet and playwright who was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and her sister, Debbie Allen, also a celebrity, is a successful choreographer, director, and actor. 

It seems for most of Rashad’s career, she could do no wrong in the public eye. However, that changed when she sent a celebratory tweet when her former “Cosby Show” co-star Bill Cosby was released from prison in June of 2021 after serving two years for felony aggravated indecent assault. Rashad also co-starred with the disgraced comedian in another sitcom called “Cosby” from 1996 to 2000 and went on to enjoy what seems to be a very fruitful career from there. 

It’s no exaggeration to say Phylicia Rashad’s done quite well for herself: According to Celebrity Net Worth, her net worth sits at $25 million. So, let’s see how she accumulated some of that wealth and break down some of her various revenue streams.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN’s National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

The Cosby Show was a financial touchdown for Phylicia Rashad

Out of the endless sea of actors who want to make it big, only a small number of them will get a consistent paying job, and there’s even a smaller percentage who will become famous. Then there’s a select few who get cast in a project that’s considered iconic, which is a category that Phylicia Rashad falls under for playing Clair Huxtable on “The Cosby Show” for eight seasons. Plus, one has to assume that it was Rashad’s largest payday, considering how massive the series was and how long it stayed on the air. But another person could say that she probably lost a lot of money once reruns were pulled by many U.S. stations after the show’s star Bill Cosby was accused of sex crimes and served some prison time until his conviction was overturned.

So just how much was Rashad raking in when the show was at its peak? While Cosby’s salary was often in the press, her salary wasn’t, but put consider this: In 1990, when the series was far from being new, NBC still agreed to pay $2.6 million per episode to license it, per the Los Angeles Times, so there was enough money to pay Rashad a very substantial check. And as for rerun residuals, Mvorganizing.org shows the main actors in an ’80s series could be getting 5% of their original pay, which can turn into tens of thousands of dollars for an actor each episode.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN’s National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Phylicia Rashad started making her own money early on

If you thought that Phylicia Rashad just popped up on “The Cosby Show” and started earning big money right away, you’d be vastly mistaken, because she actually appeared in an episode of the CBS drama “Delvecchio” in 1976, according to IMDb. The actor also landed a TV commercial for American Airlines one year later, but perhaps her biggest payday in television before “The Cosby Show” came when she played Courtney Wright in the soap opera “One Life to Live” in 1984.

Of course, payment for being on commercials and TV shows changed a lot since the ’80s, but regardless, it’s clear that Rashad was on her way to building a nice-sized bank account for herself from a young age. At the time the actor landed her “Delvecchio” role, she was 28 years old, so the job must’ve been a promising way for her to enter her 30s. And just think, in that same year Rashad was on the soap opera, she started on “The Cosby Show,” so 1984 could be considered the year that she started making massive dough.

The stage has been good to Phylicia Rashad's pocketbook

Stage actors may be associated with people who really care about their craft, as opposed to being in entertainment for fame and riches, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get huge paychecks, especially celebrities like Phylicia Rashad. The actor has been in stage plays since 1987’s “Into the Woods,” as BroadwayWorld shows, and she’s been on and off-Broadway ever since. And when an A-lister hits the Great White Way, they can pull in some major cheddar. Take Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, for example, who, according to The New York Times, reportedly made a whopping $100,000 a week when they were in “The Producers.” Now, we don’t have any idea what Rashad was paid each time she was in a play, but her first major stage show came three years after she started on “The Cosby Show,” which must’ve given her some serious leverage at the negotiation table.

And if that wasn’t the case, it’s easy to assume that Rashad had the authority to demand more money after winning a Tony in 2004 for her role in “A Raisin in the Sun,” being the first Black woman to win in that category. Rashad also hit the road for the play “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” in 2009, which played in London’s West End. Plus, one has to consider the UK’s pound sterling has been stronger than the dollar for some time now, so Rashad raked in even more money for herself. On top of that, as Deadline reported in 2020, she was brought on to direct an off-Broadway play titled “Blue” in New York City, which is yet another paycheck.

Oh, and let's not forget about Phylicia Rashad's music career

It’s pretty amazing that Phylicia Rashad isn’t seen walking around with her hair matted down all the time considering all of the hats she wears. Because besides being a successful actor and stage director, she’s also worked as a recording artist, singing on the album “Josephine Superstar.” The project was released in 1978 and, as she says in the album’s intro (via The Loud Bassoon), it’s a tribute to Josephine Baker, an entertainer who grew to fame in the 1920s in Paris, France. It’s also a disco album because hey, it was the ’70s, remember? Plus, Rashad, who was still using her maiden name Allen at the time, was married to Victor Willis, the lead singer of the Village People, who played the cop in the group. He produced much of the album, according to IMDb, which also explains the disco vibe.

And although it may not be known just how much money Rashad has earned from “Josephine Superstar,” it was released at a time when music still made money, not like the streaming days where artists earn under a penny per stream. In the end, “Josephine Superstar” remained a respectable five weeks on the Billboard charts and peaked at No. 28. But Rashad and Willis got divorced in 1982, so that could have affected her cut of the album sales depending on what was negotiated during the split.

Phylicia Rashad has landed public speaking gigs

Have at least a little bit of fame, couple that with an impressive resume, and one can often parlay both of those things into some big checks as a public speaker. It’s something that Phylicia Rashad can probably attest to because she’s been a guest speaker for many years and at various events. Now, we haven’t spoken to her booking agent or anything, but if you were to go by sites like Executive Speakers Bureau, a celebrity like Rashad can pull in between $30,000 and $50,000 per event, while AAE Speakers shows the actor could make between $50,000 to $100,000 for public speaking.

Some of Rashad’s speaking events that still live on the Internet include a 2011 event at the YWCA Inspire Luncheon. She also spoke at the summer commencement ceremony in 2015 at Tuskegee University in Alabama, and at the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff’s commencement exercise two years later. Of course, it remains to be seen if the backlash Rashad received for celebrating Bill Cosby’s prison release diminishes her public speaking opportunities and the money she receives from it. (Per Deadline, she did offer an apology for her reaction to the news, stating, “My remarks were in no way directed towards survivors of sexual assault.”)

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN’s National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Phylicia Rashad got into the world of academia

In May of 2021, it was announced that Phylicia Rashad had been made the dean of Howard University’s newly established Fine Arts College, a gig that surely only brings in more money for the actor. As the AP noted, Rashad attended Howard University and graduated magna cum laude in 1970 with a bachelor’s in fine arts, and sister Debbie Allen also went to the school. When Howard unveiled the news, Rashad called the role “a privilege” in a statement.  

According to Indeed, a dean of a university can make a little more than $81,000 annually — and that’s for someone who isn’t a Tony Award winner and wasn’t on a hit sitcom. But how much Rashad is being paid for her new role since she started on July 1, 2021, is unknown, but she did tell Variety that she never saw herself as a dean. She also previously worked at Howard as an adjunct faculty member as well as guest lecturer, and there aren’t any reports that she volunteered for those positions, which means Rashad has also made a good deal of money from academia.

Phylicia Rashad has a mansion-sized home

Although Phylicia Rashad is a native of Houston, she’s made a home for herself in Mount Vernon, New York, and according to Virtual Globetrotting, that home is a mini-mansion. In a photo the site shows of the house, you can see that it sits on a rather large piece of property that’s surrounded by tall trees. It also has at least two floors and multiple sections, and it looks like someone could easily get lost while wandering around the abode. For those unaware, Mount Vernon is located in Westchester County, which MarketWatch listed as being the third most expensive place in the country to have a family in 2017 — perhaps another sign that Rashad is doing more than well financially. 

And she wasn’t the first member of her family to settle in Mount Vernon, because her mother Vivian Ayers Allen also resided there, per The New York Times. Plus, the former sitcom star has embedded herself into the local community, hosting a masterclass for high school students at the Mount Vernon Performing and Visual Arts Magnet Program after they performed “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Plus, as the Yonkers Times reported in 2019, it was announced that an auditorium was dedicated to Rashad, which doesn’t have much to do with her finances but it shows how big of a star she remained many years after “The Cosby Show” left primetime.

Phylicia Rashad hooked up her mom in a major way

Oftentimes, when you hear a celebrity talk about what he or she is most proud of when it comes to their success, it’s how they were able to help their parents. Maybe the celeb paid off their parent’s mortgage, bought them a brand new house, or simply made their longtime money woes vanish. In Phylicia Rashad’s case, she bought her mother’s old South Carolina school, the Brainerd Institute, decades after it closed in 1939, according to Essence. Additionally, The New York Times said Rashad paid $115,000 for it, and it’s not like she paid in installments, a move that suggests she had a healthy-sized bank account. ”She wrote a check, just like that, and solved the crisis,” her mother Vivian Ayers Allen told The Times in 2002.

Reportedly, someone was threatening to build apartments on the school’s property in 1998, something Rashad just wasn’t having. But her move wasn’t just to preserve the southern school and its land, it was to do something wonderful for her mother. ”When you think of the things you could give a person, most of those would not mean much to her,” Rashad said in The New York Times. ”But this meant everything to her.” Wow, imagine being able to plunk down a six-figure check just like that.

Phylicia Rashad once pitched yogurt

In 1987, Phylicia Rashad probably had to wear sunglasses all the time because of how bright things looked for her. Mainly, because “The Cosby Show” was in its fourth season and already considered a monumental hit, and by then Rashad was considered by many to be America’s matriarch. So who better for brands to hire to promote their product since Rashad appeared to be a trusted face to ’80s consumers? The folks at the yogurt company Yoplait answered that question by making the actor their pitch-person for its Yoplait 150.

In a TV commercial, the Houston native walks around a dance studio while saying that she eats the yogurt because it only has 150 calories and she wants to fit into a “French leotard,” which she holds up for the camera. Now, there’s pretty much zero information available on how much Rashad received for the commercial but one has to assume she wouldn’t do it unless she was paid a pretty penny. Because think about it, why else would one of TV’s biggest stars at the time agree to a job that an up-and-coming actor can do? It’s either Rashad was paid handsomely or she really loves yogurt — and the former seems more likely.

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