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The Cosby Show (TV Series 1984–1992) Poster

(1984–1992)

Trivia

Carl Anthony Payne II, who played Theo's friend Walter "Cockroach" Bradley, was fired from the show in the fourth season for refusing to cut his hair.
Peter Costa, who played Huxtable neighbor and Rudy's playmate Peter suffered stage fright, and due to that, would often forget his lines. This resulted in his character's communication via trademark facial expressions and always running out of the house at the sign of trouble.
The character of Sondra, the Huxtables' eldest daughter, was added almost as an afterthought. In the pilot, Phylicia Rashad's Clair Huxtable mentions the couple's four children (Sondra makes it five). They decided there should be another child that represented the results of a good upbringing, hence a daughter in college. When casting the role, it came down to two actresses: twenty-six-year-old Sabrina Le Beauf and twenty-one-year-old Whitney Houston. LeBeauf's theater experience won her the role.
Bill Cosby never received an Emmy Nomination for his acting on the series. This was at the request of Cosby, as he was personally opposed to such competition between performers.
Inspired by I Love Lucy (1951), Cosby intended for Clair to be a Dominican who would go into Spanish tirades when she got angry. Phylicia Rashad, who learned fluent Spanish from living in Mexico as a child, won the part by demonstrating her language skills, but this idea was dropped before the pilot was taped. Clair is shown speaking Spanish in a few episodes.
At four-years-old, Alicia Keys appeared in an episode as one of Rudy's friends.
Rudy was originally going to be a son, but when a suitable boy could not be found, girls were allowed to audition.
Winnie and Nelson Tibideaux are named for Winnie Mandela and Nelson Mandela, the first Black President of South Africa and his then-wife.
Bill Cosby insisted that the show be filmed in New York City, due to his dislike of working in Hollywood.
Nobody gave this sitcom much chance for success partly because it was on Thursday night against Magnum, P.I. (1980). The sitcom eventually became the number one show on the air and routinely beat Magnum, P.I. (1980) in the ratings. In one episode of the show, Cosby wore a Magnum baseball cap.
The show was initially rejected by ABC, but got picked up by NBC, where it became a huge success.
Malcolm-Jamal Warner failed his initial audition for the show. When reading a scene with Bill Cosby, Cosby felt that that Warner was speaking in a disrespectful nature. When Cosby asked Warner if he spoke to his own father that way, Warner replied "no", earning him a second chance to audition.
After the 2008 election, Republican strategist Karl Rove credited The Cosby Show (1984) with paving the way for America to elect an African-American President, since, in Rove's words, "we've had an African-American first family for many years in different forms. When The Cosby Show was on, that was America's family. It wasn't a black family. It was America's family."
The black button that Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable (Bill Cosby) wore in some of the later seasons said "SD Jr", a reference to Cosby's close friend, Sammy Davis, Jr., who died during the series' run.
Bill Cosby is the only cast member to appear in every episode.
In season five, episode thirteen, "Cliff Babysits", we learn Cliff had a younger brother, James Theodore Huxtable, who died at the age seven of rheumatic fever. Cliff was eight-years-old at the time.
Phylicia Rashad was pregnant throughout much of the third season. As a result, her scenes were greatly reduced and what little she was used in, she had to hide her condition, such as sitting behind a desk.
The character Cliff Huxtable was ranked first in TV Guide's list of the 50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time (June 20, 2004 issue).
Bill Cosby regularly ad-libbed many of his lines. In addition, scenes in which Cliff was shown by himself were largely improvised by Cosby.
Clair's maiden name, Hanks, is the maiden name of Bill Cosby's real-life wife, Camille O. Cosby.
Before the opening credits in one episode, Olivia walked up to Cliff wearing a Bart Simpson mask, a reference to FOX's The Simpsons (1989) taking away so many of this show's viewers.
Bill Cosby's real-life family was the basis of the Huxtables. Both families consisted of four daughters and one son, the son being the middle child.
In real-life, Earle Hyman, who plays Cliff's father, was only eleven years older than Bill Cosby, who played Cliff. Ethel Ayler, who was cast as Clair's mother, is only fourteen years older than Phylicia Rashad.
Theo was found to be dyslexic, just like the late Ennis Cosby in real-life.
During the early 1980s, Bill Cosby regularly served as substitute host of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962). Reportedly, when NBC Program Executive Brandon Tartikoff was up late one night tending to his infant daughter, he happened to turn on an episode of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962) hosted by Cosby. Watching Cosby's monologue, which centered around observations of his family life, Tartikoff was struck by the inspiration to develop a family sitcom starring Cosby for NBC.
Ironically, on this show, which shattered so many stereotypes, Cliff was originally going to be a chauffer. Cosby's real-life wife Camille suggested making him a doctor, more fitting with the show's agenda to shatter racial stereotyping.
In November 2008, The New York Times reported that during the mid-1990s, University of Massachusetts communications professor Sut Jhally got Bill Cosby to donate sixteen thousand dollars to him so that he could do research on why this show had been popular with white viewers, as well as black viewers. Dr. Jhally insists that Cosby's money did not bias the study, and the book that Jhally wrote as a result of that research, "Enlightened Racism: The Cosby Show, Audiences, and the Myth of the American Dream", was critical of the show.
Phylicia Rashad is only ten years older than Sabrina Le Beauf.
Although Rudy's friend Kenny (Bud) often mentioned his brother, he was never shown.
For the first season, A Different World (1987) was a smash ratings hit, but was slammed by the critics for being a lame Cosby clone, riding on the coattails of its predecessor. Phylicia Rashad suggested that Cosby hire her sister, Debbie Allen, former star and producer of Fame (1982), to take over producing and directing duties for A Different World (1987), to try to turn the show around. That she did, and under her leadership, A Different World (1987) became critically acclaimed, and very successful, lasting for six seasons, one season after this show wrapped.
Joseph C. Phillips, who played Denise's husband, appeared in an earlier episode as one of Sondra's boyfriends.
The façade of the Huxtables' house is located at 10 St. Luke's Place in Manhattan, even though the family was supposed to live in Brooklyn.
In one of the earlier episodes, Theo bought a shirt by Gordon Gartrelle. Throughout the series, the real-life Gordon Gartrelle worked in various jobs for the series, and was listed as a producer of the show during the last few seasons.
In the first few episodes of season one, Theodore, the only son, was referred to as Teddy, a common nickname for "Theodore", that is never used again, Theo is what everyone called him thereafter.
Cliff, Claire, and Cliff's father Russell were all graduates of the fictional Hillman College. Hillman served as the setting for A Different World (1987), which initially featured Denise as a student.
One of the challenges in developing and launching the series was at that time, sitcoms were widely viewed as a dying genre. The success of the series helped inspire the creation and launch of several new sitcoms, and the show is generally credited with helping to revive the sitcom genre.
Anna was the first name of Heathcliff Huxtable and Bill Cosby's mother. Russell was the first name of Heathcliff Huxtable's father, and Bill Cosby's younger brother.
The first episodes of the show's seventh season had an opening in front of a Mother Hale mural. However, when there was a disagreement over what compensation would be paid to the kids who painted the original mural, the show switched back to its previous season's Apollo Theater-themed opening with an added graphic for Erika Alexander, who became a regular on the show. Some episodes began with Bill Cosby and Raven-Symoné telling the viewers that it was not a repeat. The final season used a slightly modified version of the Mother Hale opening.
When Lisa Bonet spun-off into her own successful sitcom, A Different World (1987), and then got pregnant, A Different World (1987) producer Debbie Allen suggested to Bill Cosby that they make Denice pregnant as part of the storyline. Cosby refused, and brought her (Lisa) back to this show show, where she would appear regularly for about another season, and then be fired altogether.
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Alfonso Ribeiro was cast on A Different World (1987), but decided to take a role on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990) instead.
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Sheryl Lee Ralph was a finalist for the part of Claire.
In the Italian version, the family name was changed from "Huxtable" to the more pronounceable "Robinson". "I Robinson" ("The Robinsons") was the name of the show.
The name of theme is "Kiss Me". Eight different versions were used, one for each season.
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The Sondra Huxtable Syndrome can be seen as the opposite of the Chuck Cunningham syndrome, a never-mentioned-before child suddenly materializing when the show has already established that there were less children, versus a child suddenly vanishing without any explanation to their disappearance.
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Much of the artwork that hangs on the walls in the Huxtable household is by renowned fine artist Synthia Saint James and by the painter Varnette Honeywood.
B.B. King guest starred as a character named "Riley Jackson". King's real first name was "Riley".
During the third season, Lisa Bonet appeared only sporadically, as Denise was away at college. In season four, Bonet was spun-off into her own series, A Different World (1987), portraying Denise's life at the fictional Hillman College. Bonet's real-life pregnancy resulted in her being forced to leave A Different World (1987), which would continue a successful run without her. Subsequently, Bonet returned to this show for season five, and remained on and off until being let go, due to creative differences during season seven.
During some of the show's early run, many younger viewers watched expressly to see Rudy. Many of these younger fans were said to actually refer to the series as "The Rudy Show".
Before this show premiered in 1984, most television executives were predicting the death of the sitcom, since most network evening shows were either soaps, action adventures, mysteries, or police procedurals. This show's success changed this, and sitcoms have since returned to their former prominence.
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Debbie Allen appeared as an aerobics instructor in one episode.
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Adam Sandler played a classmate and friend of Theo's in a couple of episodes (even though he's four years older than Malcolm-Jamal Warner). When asked about his involvement with this show, Sandler claims he had no idea there was any sexual misconduct on the set.
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During season two, episode two, "The Juicer", the exterior of Dr. Huxtable's office is shown, in which the nameplate "Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable" is hanging. However, in the first episode of the last season, Clair called him "Heathclifford".
When Rudy was to be a boy, Jaleel White was among those who auditioned for the part, and was a front runner for the role. Coincidentally, one of White's first television appearances was in a Jell-O Pudding commercial with Bill Cosby.
At one point during the series, on the back of Rudy and Vanessa's room door, was a poster of Whitney Houston. Whitney Houston was originally considered for the role of Sondra Huxtable, but wanted to do her music.
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The show's theme was composed by Bill Cosby and Stu Gardner.
During season four, the theme song was performed by Award Winning Jazz Vocalist and Artist Bobby McFerrin, who, shortly afterwards, would become best known for the hit song "Don't Worry, Be Happy".
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Robin Givens played a friend of Denice's, who was interviewing Theo and the rest of the family for a class project.
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Rudy (Keisha Knight Pulliam) and Lance (Allen Payne, who played Charmine's boyfriend in the last two seasons) starred in Tyler Perry's House Of Payne (2006).
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Guest stars Lili Bernard, Helen Selby, Eden Svendahl, and stand-in Michelle Hurd publicly accused Bill Cosby of sexual misconduct on the set. Cosby denied all of the allegations against him.
African-American conservative commentator and personality Joseph C. Phillips, who played Denice's husband Martin Kendall on this show, is the only regular cast member from this show who has stated that he thinks Bill Cosby is guilty of the sex abuse allegations, and who could tell that something was wrong, even when the show was being produced back in the 1980s. Cosby's other cast members have all said either that they don't know, or that they think the ladies are lying and he's innocent. Phillips even says he knows someone else who was victimized by Cosby, who hasn't come forward.
Bill Cosby's character was named "Clifford" in the pilot, which was subsequently changed to "Heathcliff".
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The extension to Cliff Huxtable's office is 331.
In the first episode, the dining room banister to the upstairs is very much different than it is during the rest of the season.
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In season six, episode eleven, "Cliff La Dolce", Cliff (Bill Cosby) is sitting on the couch reading an issue of Essence Magazine that has his real-life wife Camille Cosby on the cover. While reading it, he holds the magazine straight up so it is clearly visible that it is Camille Cosby.
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Cliff and Clair Huxtable are supposed to be around the same age. In reality, Bill Cosby was born in 1937, and Phylicia Rashad was born in 1948.
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The popular classic episode, "A Shirt Story", in season one, is where Denise makes Theo an irreverent fashionable shirt to surpass the popularity of the fictional Gordon Gartrell shirts among his teenage friends on the show. "Gordon Gartrell" was the name of one of the producers of this show.
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Although the name of the medical school Cliff attended is never mentioned, it is alluded to that it was possibly Temple University School of Medicine. In his medical office located in his home's basement there is a framed logo of the "T" that is the same symbol used by Temple University. The fictional Hillman College is known as the college he attended undergraduate school. Also, Bill Cosby earned his bachelor's degree from Temple in 1971, so this allusion could be homage to his real-life alma mater.
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Stacey Dash played a friend of Denise in one episode.
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With the exception of Sabrina Le Beauf (Sondra) and Keshia Knight Pulliam (Rudy), the actor and actresses who played the Huxtable children are almost or accurately the same age as their real-life counterparts: Lisa Bonet is a year younger than Erinn Cosby, Malcolm-Jamal Warner is a year younger than Ennis Cosby, and Tempestt Bledsoe was born the same year as Ensa Cosby.
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Phylicia Rashad (Clair) is only ten years older than Sabrina LeBeauf (Sondra).
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When the outside of the Huxtable house is shown, throughout the entire series the plate to the left of the door, under the porch light, reads "Clifford Huxtable, M.D."
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Denise's favorite flower is the tulip.
The medical school that Cliff Huxtable, M.D. attended is never named. It is only mentioned several times throughout the series that he finished undergraduate college at the fictional Hillman College in Virginia. Clair and Russell were also graduates of Hillman.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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