‘The Cosby Show’: Bill Cosby Changed His Character’s Role From Limo Driver to Doctor

When television shows are at an early stage of creativity, they rarely turn out exactly as expected. All sorts of changes occur between stages of design and performance. Ideas are broken up, characters grow into something completely different, and plots are reconsidered.

Cosby Show he went through some of those big changes before he hit the air in 1984. There have been a number of changes, from the professions of the characters to the number of children in the family. Apparently, the changes were good, because Cosby Show this was one of the most successful family sitcoms ever.

‘The Cosby Show’ was a control of prime-time family sports in the ’80s

The Cosby Show
The Cosby Show | Frank Carroll / NBCU Photo Bank

Cosby Show perhaps the most iconic family sitcom of the 1980s. Families would happily gather around the television each week to welcome the Huxtables into their homes. Cliff and Clair, along with their five children, were an example of the successful, nuclear family.

Cliff was a diligent, skilled and committed obstetrician to his patients. Clever Clair was a strong female role model for her four daughters, working as a progressive lawyer in a male-dominated field. The couple had a tough marriage with an unavoidable foundation, often working as a team to raise their five children.

The couple’s eldest daughter, Sondra, was a college student who presided over attending Princeton. Next came Denise, the very opposite of her older sister. Denise was a free spirit with a love of fashion and partying. Just in the middle of the Huxtable brood was the only boy – Theo.

Theo was athletic, a cunning girl, and not too worried about his standards (which was a source of constant conflict between him and his parents). Vanessa was next, 11 years old when the series began and facing the usual problems of pre-teens. The youngest of the primary was Rudy, a sad, predictable child who gave the audience a lot of laughter throughout the series.

At first Cliff Huxtable did not intend to become a doctor

Bill Cosby as Dr.  Heathcliff Huxtable and Keshia Knight Pulliam as Rudy Huxtable of ‘The Cosby Show
Bill Cosby as Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable and Keshia Knight Pulliam as Rudy Huxtable of ‘The Cosby Show | Al Levine / NBCU / NBCUniversal Photo Bank via Getty Images via Getty Images

Cosby Show It was first inspired by one of Bill Cosby’s stand-up sketches. He disliked the family partners he was seeing on television at the time, with children who cleverly cracked and always saw the dominance of their parents. It came up with a more traditional show where the kids got access to funny messages, but the parents were always on the rise.

Cosby conveyed the idea to producers Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner, but a very few changes to his original plans. He originally intended Cliff to become a limo driver and Clair to become a plumber. Cosby’s wife, Camille, disagreed. She thought it would be best to create the characters to be more like their own family, with the parents working jobs with white collars.

Marcy Carsey agreed with Camille, and Cosby knew he had lost the battle. He rewrote the pitch, making Cliff an obstetrician and Clair a lawyer.

Other amazing facts about ‘The Cosby Show’

The Huxtables professions weren’t the only early changes to Cosby’s original pitch. He had seen that Clair had a Dominican background. He was planning to launch into rants in the style of Ricky Ricardo when she became obsessed, turning down to fluent Spanish at trade time.

There were only supposed to be four Huxtable children, but Sondra was hailed as a successful college student as a nod to Cliff and Clair ‘s awesome parenting skills.

Keshia Knight-Pulliam, who painted Rudy, the youngest of the Huxtable children, was much admired by fans. She was cunning as a whip, sarcastic, and quick-witted, and never failed to make the audience burst out laughing. Viewers almost got a very different version of Rudy Huxtable, though.

First, Rudy was supposed to be a boy, and Jaleel White had put in a great lab for the part. In fact, his agent was so sure his part was locked that he told them to start looking for a home in New York City. Oops.

Scroll to Top