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June 04, 2011  | by: Dania McDermott

Clarice Taylor as Anna Huxtable

If you were born in the ’80s, chances are you had several (TV) grandmothers – and when Sophia Petrillo & Co. weren’t available, Anna Huxtable filled that niche with her own brand of sass and sensibility.

Clarice Taylor, best known for her recurring stint as Cliff Huxtable’s mom on The Cosby Show, died Monday of heart failure according to published reports. The actress was 93. 

Though Taylor will likely be most remembered for her Emmy-nominated work as grandmother to the Cosby lot, the Virginia native’s career unsurprisingly spanned decades.

Raised in New York City, Taylor soon recognized her interest in performing, which she honed courtesy of the American Negro Theater. With limited (good) roles available for people of color, Taylor later became a founding member of the Negro Ensemble Company. But she couldn’t earn a living solely off theater crumbs –  and like many starving artists, took a day job with the post-office.

Taylor’s proverbial “break” came in the late 1960′s, when her first movie role paved the way for her work as “Minnie”  in Otto Preminger’s Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon. Other notable roles include “Birdie” in Clint Eastwood’s Play Misty For Me and “Gladys Brooks,” a character  she developed on Broadway and brought to the big screen in Five on the Blackhand Side.

Theater and film work aside, Taylor’s other claim to fame was directed expressly at children: Joining the cast of Sesame Street in 1977, she landed the role of ”Harriet,” a farm girl at heart who was, of course, a loving grandmother.

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