Deborah Kaye Allen (born January 16, 1950) is an American actress, dancer, choreographer, singer-songwriter, director, producer, and a former member of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. She has been nominated 20 times for an Emmy Award (winning three), two Tony Awards, and has also won a Golden Globe Award and received star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1991.
Allen is best known for her work in the musical-drama television series Fame (1982-1987), where she portrayed dance teacher Lydia Grant, and served as the series' principal choreographer. For this role in 1983 she received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy and two Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography and was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Allen later began working as director and producer, most notably producing and directing 83 of 144 episodes of NBC comedy series A Different World (1988-1993). She returned to acting playing the leading role in the NBC sitcom In the House from 1995 to 1996, and in 2011 began playing Dr. Catherine Avery in the ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy also served as an executive producer/director. She has directed more than 50 television and film productions.
In 2001, Allen opened the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles, where she currently teaches young dancers. She also taught choreography to former Los Angeles Lakers dancer-turned-singer, Paula Abdul. She is the younger sister of actress/director/singer Phylicia Rashad.
She is also known as Deborah Allen.