Bill Cosby may be canceled, but should The Cosby Show also be filed away to the dustbin of history? One of its stars doesn’t think so. Actress Keshia Knight Pulliam played Rudy, the youngest daughter of the fictional Huxtable family on the show. Cosby played the leading role as Dr. Cliff Huxtable while Phylicia Rashad played his wife, lawyer Clair.
The sitcom aired on NBC for eight seasons from September 1984 to April 1992. It also starred Lisa Bonet, Malcolm Jamal-Warner and Tempestt Bledsoe as the Huxtable children. The show was viewed as groundbreaking in its time for its portrayal of a middle-class Black family who were educated with professional careers and weren’t struggling financially.
It earned six Emmys, including Outstanding Comedy Series in 1985. But Cosby, now 86, has been accused of sexual misconduct going back to the ’70s by more than 60 women. After being convicted in a sexual assault case from decades ago in 2018, Cosby was released after two years when an appeal to the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court agreed that he should have never been prosecuted in the first place.
Now 44, and a married mother of two, Pulliam told People that she’s happy that her 5-year-old daughter Ella Grace is old enough to watch the show. She says she’s proud of her contribution to its legacy.
“Now my daughter is able to enjoy the work that I did, and it’s funny because she looks so much like me.”
Pulliam says that the show still stands on its own merits.
“You can’t take away the work that we all collectively did,” she says. “[The Cosby Show] was bigger than one person.”
Pulliam married the actor Brad James in 2021. She hosts the Married At First Sight After Party and has become a staple in holiday movie fare. Though she acted sporadically in the years immediately after The Cosby Show until landing a regular role on Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, she’s now enjoying a career resurgence. She says The Cosby Show is why she was able to gain a foothold in the industry.
“A lot of actors wait their entire lifetime for an opportunity like that,” she says. “I’m grateful I have been a part of a piece of work that has really transcended generations and that’s still teaching lessons that are relevant today.”
The Cosby Show celebrates its 40th anniversary next year.
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