• Golden Globe Awards

Out of the Archives: Debbie Allen on “Fame”

Debbie Allen won a Golden Globe as Best Actress in a TV series for Fame. She was interviewed by journalists of the Hollywood Foreign Press in 1982.
“I am from New York by way of Texas and that is the best of both worlds. I am a Broadway gypsy, that’s what I call myself, I started dancing in the chorus line of a show and I have worked my way up to where I am now.”
“My mother, who is a writer, her name is Vivian Ayres, packed up myself and my sister when I was 11 years old and moved us bodily to Mexico City, not knowing one person. Having lived in Texas in the early 60s, where things were still somewhat segregated and opportunities were basically limited anyway, she wanted to feel some new colors, new vibrations, new feelings.”
“I was already involved in studying dance, so I went to the Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts) every Sunday and watched the Ballet Folklorico, then I studied with the Ballet Nacional de Mexico, which was mostly a modern dance company, and it was an incredible experience. I felt it was really a cultural exchange for me, because I lived and breathed another culture, but the language of the dance certainly did not change from one culture to the other, it was the same, which has always inspired me and encouraged me to try to communicate that as much as possible. You know, we have a lot of political, social and economic problems around the world, but culturally and artistically the languages are the same.”
“I always wanted to dance, I was always dancing, and even when I was five years old I was talented in keeping rhythms, doing the latest moves. My mother paid a lot of attention to her children, to what they seemed to be able to do naturally, and develop that talent, so I always believed that I could replace Shirley Temple, that I could do everything that I am doing now, that I should be on Broadway. I never felt any limitations as a child, which is one thing I really love about being in Fame, because it encourages young people to jump on their ambitions at an early age and follow their instincts, which is what I did.”
“I do get a lot of letters from parents, specifically since I deal with the dance on the show Fame, asking, ‘how do we organize such a school in our community?’  And that has been one of the best things about Fame, that it has started parents thinking about evaluating the educational system that their children are offered, and maybe they should have a few more choices other than Algebra, English, Math and History, seriously, they should have Music, Dance, Acting. So that’s quite good.”