The Cosby Show might seem like a safe sitcom featuring dodgy jumpers, cute kids and corny lessons in life – but was considered groundbreaking in the 80s because it featured an affluent African-American family. In fact the idea was rejected by ABC but picked up by NBC and became one of the biggest shows of the decade.
The show followed Doctor Cliff Huxtable’s life in Brooklyn with his wife Clair (a lawyer) and their five kids – some young mouthy ones, some older boring ones, and Theo stuck in the middle.
But where are all the cast members now? What happened to Sondra, Denise, Theo, Vanessa and Rudy – and which cast-member voiced a ThunderCat?
Find out after the break!
Bill Cosby – Dr Heathcliff ‘Cliff’ Huxtable
As a young man Bill followed his father into the US Navy –
He later studied physical education at University but left to become a stand-up comic. Bill landed his own TV series in the 60’s called ‘I Spy’. In the 70’s he appeared with Morgan Freeman on the educational show ‘The Electric Company’ (check out a clip here) and created the cartoon ‘Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids’.
He also made films of questionable quality like ‘Ghost Dad’ and ‘Leonard Part 6′ (a movie so bad he warned audiences to stay away).
In the 90’s he and Phylicia Rashad reunited on the sitcom ‘Cosby’ and became the host of ‘Kids Say The Darndest Things’.
Here he is chatting to singer JoJo when she was only 7.
Bill has been married to Camille Olivia Hanks since 1964 – they have five children together. His son Ennis was tragically shot dead while changing a tyre on the side of the road in 1997.
He is a jazz musician and has hosted a Jazz Festival since 1978.
In 1997 he admitted giving $100,000 to Shawn Upshaw to keep her from going public about an affair they had in the 1970s. She was jailed for trying to extort $40 million from Cosby.
In 2006, Cosby settled a lawsuit against him by a Canadian woman who claimed he had attacked her. Bill denied the allegations.
Here’s an appearance on Jimmy Fallon in January 2013.
UPDATE: In January 2014 it was announced that Bill is working on a new family sitcom in NBC.
You can follow him on Twitter @billcosby
Phylicia Rashad – Clair Huxtable
Before The Cosby Show, Phylicia was a Broadway and soap actress. Since the show she teamed up with Bill Cosby again for the sitcom ‘Cosby’ (1996 – 2000).
More recently she had a guest appearance on ‘Everybody Hates Chris’, and starred in a Broadway production of ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’.
She has been married three times (to a dentist, to the lead singer of The Village People, and to a former American-footballer). She has two children.
Sabrina Le Beauf – Sondra
Denise was the eldest child in the pilot episode but ‘Sondra’ was brought in for the full series, she was the smart and political Princeton graduate.
In fact, Sabrina is only 10 years younger than her mum on the show, Phylicia Rashad
Sabrina also played Ensign Guisti in two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
She has since performed Shakespeare on stage and now owns her own interior design company.
Geoffrey Owens – Elvin (Sondra’s husband)
Since the show Geoffrey has had very small roles in FlashForward, The Secret Life of an American Teenager and It’s Always Sunny In Philidelphia.
He now teaches an acting class in New York City.
Lisa Bonet – Denise
Lisa’s character Denise got her own short-lived spin-off show called A Different World – she left the show after announcing her pregnancy. In fact she had eloped with Lenny Kravitz and gave birth to their daughter Zoe Kravitz (who recently starred in X Men: First Class’).
Lisa starred in the R Rated movie ‘Angel Heart’ with Mickey Rourke and later left The Cosby Show because of ‘creative differences’.
In 1992 she changed her name to Lilakoi Moon, but still uses ‘Lisa Bonet’ professionally.
She began dating Game of Thrones star Jason Momoa in 2005, they have two children – a daughter called Lola Iolani Momoa, and had a son named Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha Momoa.
Malcolm Jamal Warner – Theo
Since the show Malcolm appeared in a 90’s sitcom called ‘Malcom & Eddie’. In 2003 he released his debut EP and followed it up with another in 2007. He has guest-starred on ‘Community’, played the lead in a sitcom called ‘Reed Between The LInes’ and in July 2014 it was announced that he’d have a guest role on ‘Sons of Anarchy’.
Malcolm is also a performance poet. He dated Michelle Thomas (who played his girlfriend on The Cosby Show) until her death in 1998. Malcolm is now dating Regina King.
Tempestt Bledsoe – Vanessa
Tempestt (not a typo) later had her own talk-show in the mid 90’s and more recently appeared in Celebrity Fit Club. She now hosts Clean House on the Style Network and appears in the sitcom Guys With Kids.
She has a degree in finance, has been in a relationship with Darryl M. Bell for sixteen years and is a vegetarian.
Keshia Knight Pulliam – Rudy
After The Cosby Show Keisha’s family moved to Virginia and she later got a degree in sociology. She appeared in celeb versions of The Weakest Link and Fear Factor.
In 2004 she starred in Chingy’s video for ‘One Call Away’.
In 2005 Keisha starred with Queen Latifah in ‘Beauty Shop’ and got a part in the Tyler Perry series ‘Tyler Perry’s House of Pain’ and his film ‘Madea Goes To Jail’.
Raven-Symoné – Olivia
Raven was brought in to play a new cute young girl as ‘Rudy’ aged. Since the show she appeared in Hangin’ With Mr Cooper and her own Disney series That’s So Raven. She released a few unsuccessful albums and appeared in films like Doctor Dolittle, Tinker Bell, and Road Trip.
Deon Richmond – Kenny
After The Cosby Show, Deon starred in a sitcom called Getting By and played Tamara’s boyfriend in later seasons of Sister, Sister.
More recently he’s appeared in Scream 3 – he gets attacked 1 minute into this clip
He’s also had parts in Not Another Teen Movie and National Lampoon’s Van Wilder.
Earle Hyman – Cliff’s dad Russell Huxtable
Earle is a stage actor who has performed both in America and Norway (he’s fluent in Norwegian) – he also voiced Panthero in Thundercats!
He won an Emmy for playing Cliff’s dad, but was only 11 years older than Bill Cosby in real life. Is now 86 years old (born Oct 1926).
The cast of The Cosby Show – we salute you!