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May 04, 2020

'Cosby Show's Final Episode Aired 28 Years Ago — a Look Back at the Show and the Huxtable Family

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operatedIt’s been 28 years since the Huxtable family said goodbye to primetime television on the last episode of “The Cosby Show.” Yet, the show remains one of the most popular in American history.

During the late '80s and early '90s, Bill Cosby was behind the creation of "The Cosby Show," a sitcom that was based, in part, on the comedian's family experiences and stand-up comedy shows.

The series ran for eight years and was one of the most popular sitcoms at the time. Today, re-runs still manage to attract new audiences, and the values of the Huxtable family are still in force.

Bill Cosby, Tempestt Bledsoe, Lisa Bonet, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Phylicia Rashad, Keshia Knight Pulliam, and Sabrina Le Beauf. "The Cosby Show" Season 6 | Photo: GettyImages



Phylicia Rashad, Sabrina LeBeauf, Geoffrey Owens, Lisa Bonet, Malcolm Jamal-Warner, and Keshia Knight Pulliam share one thing in common: people still recognize them on the street as their Cosby Show characters.

The perfect way to circle back to the beginning, in the end, was by having the Huxtables attend Theo’s graduation.

Tempestt Bledsoe, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Lisa Bonet, Sabrina Le Beauf, on "The Cosby Show" | Photo: GettyImages


The cast of what critics have titled “the biggest TV hit of the ‘80s” have moved on with their lives and careers in the past three decades since the show premiered in 1984.

Some have found success, some have encountered bumps on the road, and some have been unmasked by justice.

Still, what they did on “The Cosby Show” is incomparable, and to this day, the Huxtable family keeps evocating discussions about whether the portrayal of an upper-middle-class family did good or not for the black community.

Keshia Knight Pulliam as Rudy Huxtable, Bill Cosby as Dr. Heathcliff 'Cliff' Huxtable, Phylicia Rashad as Clair Hanks Huxtable "The Cosby Show" | Photo: GettyImages


The show ran for eight seasons and was number one on the Nielsen rating for five consecutive ones.

It also saved NBC and the sitcom genre at a time when it was deemed dead and opened the doors for other sitcoms that revolved around black families.


In the first episode of the series, aired on September 20, 1984, the Huxtable family opened the doors of their home in Manhattan to the audience.

THE COSBY SHOW -- Season 4 -- Pictured: (l-r) Bill Cosby as Dr. Heathcliff 'Cliff' Huxtable, Phylicia Rashad as Clair Hanks Huxtable | Photo: GettyImages


The first scene was that of Clair, played by Phylicia Rashad, making breakfast while her kids danced to the music on the radio before going to school.

Later on, Cliff, played by Bill Cosby, has a discussion with his son Theo, played by Malcolm Jamal-Warner, about a disappointing school report where there were mostly D’s.

Theo then claims he doesn’t need to study because, unlike his physician father and his attorney mother, he would become a “regular person” and “work in a gas station, drive a bus, something like that.”

"The Cosby Show" Season 1 - Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Bill Cosby,, Tempestt Bledsoe, Phylicia Rashad, Lisa Bonet. | Photo: GettyImages


The perfect way to circle back to the beginning, in the end, was by having the Huxtables attend Theo’s graduation from New York University.

Then, after all the celebrations were over, Cliff and Clair had a cute moment in which, after eight seasons, he finally fixed their doorbell.

The sound of the bell turned into soft music that had the pair dancing, and as they glided across the living room, the camera panned out to show the audience in the studio as Cliff and Clair walked out, breaking the fourth wall.

THE COSBY SHOW -- Season 3 -- Pictured: (l-r) Phylicia Rashad as Clair Hanks Huxtable, Bill Cosby as Dr. Heathcliff 'Cliff' Huxtable | Photo: GettyImages



Phylicia Rashad, who was dubbed as “the mother of the black community” for her portrayal of Clair, has divided her time between theater, film, and television.

She reunited with Bill Cosby in the 1996 series “Cosby,” appeared on the television film adaptation of “A Raisin in the Sun,” and starred in Tyler Perry’s “For Colored Girls” and “Good Deeds.”

Phylicia Rashad attends the "Once On This Island" Broadway Opening Night at Circle in the Square Theatre on December 3, 2017 in New York City. | Photo: GettyImages


Rashad also landed the role of Diana DuBois in “Empire,” and appeared in the “Creed” film franchise. Her most recent work includes an episode of “This Is Us,” and a recurring role on “David Makes Man.”

Lisa Bonet, who brought Denise Huxtable to life, left “The Cosby Show” early and went on to star in its spin-off “A Different World” for one season.

CIRCA 1987: Lisa Bonet plays Epiphany Proudfoot , a young woman involved with the occult who Harry Angel encounters in his search for a mysterious big band singer | Photo: GettyImages


Then, she got pregnant and had a daughter, Zoe, with her former husband Lenny Kravitz, whom she divorced after six years together.

Lisa appeared in films such as “High Fidelity,” “Enemy of the State,” and “Biker Boyz,” and series like “Life on Mars” and “The Red Road,” where she shared the screen with her second husband, Jason Momoa, with whom she has two kids.

Lisa Bonet and Jason Momoa attend the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California | Photo: GettyImages


Keshia Knight Pulliam, who portrayed little Rudy Huxtable, went on to appear in Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne” and “Madea Goes to Jail.”

She was a contestant on “The Celebrity Apprentice” season 7, and a house guest on “Celebrity Big Brother.” Keshia has a daughter with ex-husband Ed Hartwell.



Sabrina LeBeauf, who played Sondra Huxtable, appeared on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and voiced a character on Nickelodeon’s animated series “Fatherhood.”

She went on to work as an interior designer after enrolling in the UCLA Professional Interior Design Program and continued acting in theater for a few years.


Geoffrey Owens, who portrayed Elvin Tibideaux, made headlines in 2018 when he was photographed working at a Trader Joe’s in New Jersey.

Although he was mortified at first from receiving people’s pity, he later said he wasn't ashamed because every job is valuable.


The unwanted attention opened some doors for Owens, and Tyler Perry created a character for him on “The Haves & the Have Nots.” He also landed supporting roles in “NCIS: New Orleans” and the film “Fatale.”

Malcolm-Jamal Warner, or Theo Huxtable, starred on the UPN sitcom “Malcolm & Eddie,” “Reed Between the Lines,” and on the FOX medical drama “The Resident.”

He’s married and has a daughter but keeps the identities of his wife and kid away from the media, for the most part, citing security reasons.

As for the show’s creator, Bill Cosby, he’s currently in prison after being found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault in 2018.