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Ethel Ayler posing

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

According to Deadline, she died last month on November 18 in Loma Linda, California, her family announced on Friday. The cause of death was not released.

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.

But Ayler is best known as Carrie Hanks, the mother of Phylicia Rashad’s Claire Huxtable, appearing in six episodes over the course of the show’s run from 1984-92. As PEOPLE pointed out, while Ayler played Rashad’s mom on the comedy, the two were only 18 years apart.

The Cosby Show

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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“To Sleep With Anger,” which 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.

Last year, Earle Hyman, who played Bill Cosby’s father, died in New Jersey. He was 91-years-old.


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Rest In Power: Ethel Ayler, Clair Huxtable’s Mother On ‘The Cosby Show,’ Dead At 88  was originally published on