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Subject: Yes, I do remember singer/actress Ethel Ayler as 'Claire Huxtable's mother on TV's THE COSBY SHOW, but I remember her best in the 1990 UNDERRATED film, "To Sleep With Anger" with brilliant acclaimed performances by Ayler, and Danny Glover! Ayler was a fine singer. ...

Ayler died exactly ONE year to-the-day after another COSBY grandparent Earle Hyman!
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Date Posted: Sunday, January 06, 01:30:28pm
In reply to: Dies at 88 's message, "Actress Ethel Ayler" on Thursday, December 20, 03:58:38pm

Rest In Power: Ethel Ayler, Clair Huxtable’s Mother On ‘The Cosby Show,’ Dead At 88;
The actress died last month on November 18 in Loma Linda, California. …

By: Kellee Terrell
Posted December 22, 2018

Ethel Ayler, the actress who played Claire Huxtable’s mother on “The Cosby Show,” has passed away. She was 88-years-old.

Ayler died Nov. 18 in Loma Linda, California, her family announced.

A longtime member of the Negro Ensemble Company, she starred in the 1960s in Jean Genet's long-running off-Broadway play The Blacks: A Clown Show in a cast that included Maya Angelou, James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, Godfrey Cambridge and Louis Gossett Jr. Ayler appeared in the original 1987-88 Broadway production of August Wilson's Fences, and then played Addie in a 1997 revival of The Little Foxes.

Ayler portrayed Garn Mere, a believer in voodoo, in Kasi Lemmons' acclaimed Eve's Bayou (1997). …

Ayler, a Alabama native and Fisk alum, had a career that spanned over 50 years that started in Chicago as a singer and landed her on the traveling tour on the musical Porgy And Bess. Born Ethyl Spraggins Ayler on May 1, 1930, in Whistler, Alabama — a town outside Mobile — she attended Fisk University in Nashville, majoring in voice and learning to sing in French, Spanish, Italian and German. She moved to Chicago in 1946 to pursue a singing career and got into acting when she won a role in a touring company of Porgy and Bess. …

In 1957, Ayler made her off-Broadway debut by starring in the Langston Hughes musical Simply Heavenly, then served as Lena Horne's understudy on Broadway in Jamaica. She went on to work on other Broadway productions including The Cool World, Kwamina, Black Picture Show and The First Breeze of Summer.

On NBC's The Cosby Show, Ayler, as Carrie Hanks, offered wisdom to Phylicia Rashad's Clair (they were only 18 years apart) on six episodes that spanned the years 1984-92. (Joe Williams played Ayler's husband on the sitcom.) She named her character after her beloved grandmother.

Ethel Ayler in COSBY SHOW ...

The Wrap noted that Ayler also appeared in the original 1980s Broadway production of “Fences” and the 1997 revival of “The Little Foxes.” Movie-wise, she starred In “Eve’s Bayou,” The Bodyguard”, and she sang "Stand by Me" in the Charles Burnett drama To Sleep With Anger (1990), starring Danny Glover., where she received a Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Female. …

Her TV credits also include “Family Ties,” “Martin,” “Friends,” “Brooklyn South,” “Six Feet Under” and “7th Heaven.”
Ayler isn’t the only “Cosby Show” alum to pass away in recent years. Exactly one year ago, Earle Hyman, who played Bill Cosby’s father, died in New Jersey. He was 91-years-old.

Link …

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