The Bill Cosby Show

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Television series
German title The Bill Cosby Show
Original title The Cosby Show
Country of production United States
original language English
Year (s) 1984-1992
length 24 minutes
Episodes 201 in 8 seasons
genre Sitcom
idea Michael Leeson
E. D. Weinberger
Bill Cosby
music Stu Gardner
Bill Cosby
First broadcast September 20, 1984 (USA) on NBC
first broadcast
February 5, 1987 on ZDF

The Bill Cosby Show (original title: The Cosby Show ) is an American sitcom that was broadcast on NBC from 1984 to 1992 . The series came to a total of 201 episodes in eight seasons. From 1987 to 1990 39 episodes ran on ZDF under the title Bill Cosby's Family Ties . The remaining episodes were later dubbed for ProSieben , and from 1989 to 1992 the series was broadcast in full in Germany for the first time.


The series is about the Huxtables, an upper-middle-class African-American family who live together at 10 Stigwood Avenue in Brooklyn , New York . The main characters are the father Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable, obstetrician and gynecologist , his wife Claire, a lawyer , and their five children Sondra, Denise, Theodore (Theo), Vanessa and Rudy.



10 St. Luke's Place, Manhattan

The series depicted wealthy African Americans experiencing everyday things. This plot wasn't a matter of course on US television in the mid-1980s.

Bill Cosby wanted to produce a television show that would be suitable for all ages without fear of negative effects on children .

After the end of the third season, NBC decided to produce a spin-off of the series in the wake of its success . The offshoot College Fever (original title: A Different World ) went on the air in 1987 and began with Denise, the second oldest daughter of the Huxtables, moving out to take up her studies at Hillman College .

The Huxtable house on the show at fictional 10 Stigwood Avenue is actually the facade of a private residence on 10 St. Luke's Place (near 7th Avenue in Greenwich Village, Manhattan). This is not a single-family house, but four small one-room apartments. This property was chosen primarily because of the good lighting, because the residence is located directly across from a large open space. Typical urban canyons would have created an atmosphere that was too dark.

ground floor
First floor


At the beginning of the series, the Huxtables only had four children, three daughters and one son. Claire asks her husband in the first episode: "Why do we have four children?" To which Cliff replies: "Because we somehow didn't want a fifth!" With the introduction of the oldest daughter Sondra a few weeks later, the family structure became the Bill family Cosbys adapted exactly. From the sixth season the family was supplemented with Olivia, the four-year-old stepdaughter of Denise, and from the seventh season with Pam, Claire's 17-year-old cousin.

main actor

supporting cast

Appearances by celebrities and young talents

actor role Next title Episode no. Season
John Amos Cliffs family doctor The best doctors are the worst patients 100 5
Anthony Quinn landlord Surfing in the Saale 126 6th
Stevie Wonder Stevie Wonder Clash with Stevie Wonder 42 2
Robert Culp Scott Kelly A shiny hairstyle 72 3
Plácido Domingo Alberto Santiago Little cruelties for a birthday 120 5
S. Epatha Merkerson Book club member 5 The literary fool 88 4th
Angela Bassett Paula The literary fool 88 4th
Patricia Richardson Mrs. Schrader Who is smoking there? 66 3
Mario van Peebles Garvin Getting married has to be learned 33 2
Red buttons Jake, owner of Jake's electronics store Ten years of feud 174 7th
Audrey Landers Cookie Bennett Ten years of feud 174 7th
Elaine Stritch Mrs. McGee Cliff sits after 135 6th
Lena Horne Lena Horne Blindfolded birthday 24 1
Victoria Rowell Paula Kendall Go again, Cliff 133 6th
Moses Gunn Joe Kendall Misquoted and misunderstood 134 6th
Nancy Wilson Lorraine Kendall Misquoted and misunderstood 134 6th
Betty Carter Amanda Woods The road to fame 107 5
Blair Underwood Denise's friend The hole in the ear 16 1
Tony Orlando Tony Castillo Enrique the silent 23 1
Angela Bassett Mrs. Mitchell Enrique the silent 23 1
Elaine Stritch Mrs. McGee Dance lessons 143 6th
Sônia Braga Anna Maria Westlake A five in math? 36 2
Sammy Davis Junior Ray Palomino How do you write "Tom"? 114 5
BB King Riley Jackson The marriage blues 141 6th
Valerie Brisco-Hooks Valerie Brisco-Hooks Race with a tailwind 49 2
Miriam Makeba Miriam Makeba The little one in the closet 186 8th
Pam Grier Samantha Hamburgers for gourmets 73 3
Dizzy Gillespie Mr. Hampton The queen of swing 8th 1
Tito Puente Timba player Play it again, Russell 41 2
Christopher Plummer Professor Jonathan Lawrence BBQ party with Shakespeare 79 4th
Roscoe Lee Browne Dr. Foster Card sharks 47 2
Roscoe Lee Browne Dr. Foster BBQ party with Shakespeare 79 4th
Elaine Stritch Mrs. McGee The first flirt 131 6th
Alicia Keys Maria Guests to night 22nd 1
Naomi Campbell Julia Nelson and Winnie I + II,
Nine hearts in my chest
104-106 5
Dave DeBusschere Cliff's teammate # 2 Basketball never again 117 5
Bill Bradley (US Senator) Cliff's # 1 teammate Basketball never again 117 5
Nancy Lieberman Opponent # 1 Basketball never again 117 5
Teresa Edwards Opponent # 2 Basketball never again 117 5
Danny Kaye Dr. Burns Who's Afraid of the Dentist? 40 2
Dick Vitale Dan Vicente Excerpt from the promised house 193 8th
Jim Valvano John Velarde Excerpt from the promised house 193 8th
Leslie Uggams Kris Temple Rudy's first date 169 7th
Iman Mrs. Montgomery The joint in the school book 17th 1
Robin Givens Susanne Crush over both ears 29 2
Blair Underwood mark Crush over both ears 29 2
Tichina Arnold Delores An accidental kiss 119 5
Frank Robinson Frank Potter Living room cricket 173 7th
Amy Yasbeck Alicia Evans Everything under control 166 7th
John Knight Ray Evans Everything under control 166 7th
Melba Moore Patricia Abbott Pleasures of house music 89 4th
Erica Gimpel Jennifer A gifted craftsman 92 4th
Rita Moreno Mrs. Granger Acrobats in the nursery 67 3
Sônia Braga Anna Maria Westlake The nerd 45 3
Terry Farrell Nicki Phillips A very young friend 21st 1
Sinbad Davis Sarrette Little tricks when buying a car 64 3
Gilbert Gottfried Mr. Babcock Little tricks when buying a car 64 3
Carmen Finestra Andy Witherspoon Boring performance? 87 4th
Adam Sandler Smitty The dance with Tina? 85 4th


main characters

Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable

The five-time father and gynecologist is always the children's mediator when it comes to going out or a chronic lack of pocket money. However, Heathcliff, who is mostly just called Cliff and no longer believes to be the boss of the house, is said to be stubborn and telling nonsensical stories. He has a great weakness for useless electronic accessories, which, according to his wife Claire, he usually does not use more than once. He reached the age of 50 in the series, but by no means suffered the mid-life crisis, but met the children's problems with humor and understanding. A good education for his children is important to him. In his opinion, however, only one college could be considered as a university, Hillman College, which he also attended. Since his children see things differently more often, there are some conflicts. There are also those when it comes to pets, because Cliff is against all types of pets, except goldfish, because he sat on his canary Charlie as a boy. Furthermore, Cliff is known to see himself as a master in every discipline, be it in sports, in games or in his beloved occupation as a handyman. Although he has a professional tool belt, he can hardly ever fix anything without causing even greater damage.

Claire Hanks-Huxtable

The wife and mother is a partner in a law firm in New York. She is very committed, and formative for a new image of black women, which was not a matter of course in America at the time. Just like Cliff, she knows how to deal with problems skillfully without using force or making loud voice. In addition to English, she also has a perfect command of Spanish, but does not have a Spanish migration background. She speaks Portuguese with Theo's teacher. Like Heathcliff, she studied at Hillman and, quote from a professor, was an exceptional student there.

Sondra Huxtable-Tibideaux Eldest daughter, studies at Princeston College and always has excellent grades. After graduation, she wants to study law first and follow in her mother's footsteps. Her boyfriend is Elvin, with whom she initially has an on-off relationship and is unbearable every time she has just broken up with him. But over time the two get together, get married and, on their honeymoon, come up with the idea not to continue studying, but to open a wilderness shop. This plan is also void when Sondra becomes pregnant and ultimately has twins Nelson and Winnie. Later on, Sondra applies for a law degree.

Denise Huxtable-Kendall

The second oldest daughter. It has the problem that it is very volatile and quickly loses enthusiasm. Much to the delight of her father and grandfather, she goes to Hillman College, but unlike Sondra, she is anything but a picture-book student. She soon breaks off on the grounds that she cannot stand the pressure to perform. After that, she has several jobs that she quits very quickly if things don't go as she imagined. Finally, she goes to Africa with a photographer to photograph pygmies. There she met Martin, whom she married after a few weeks. Her parents, who hope that Denise has matured after her trip and wants to go back to college, are shocked, and not just because of the secret wedding. Martin is divorced and also has a child that Denise now has to look after. But she loses her volatility and becomes a committed mother and wife. After the desire awakens in her to become a teacher for children with learning difficulties, she even resumes her studies. But again nothing comes of it because she is going to Asia with Martin. In the last episode, we learn that she is pregnant.

Theodore Aloysius "Theo" Huxtable

Only son and third oldest child. He goes to school and is characterized by laziness at the beginning of the series: his grades are bad, his room a mess. He later strives to learn more and get good grades. While in college, he is found to have dyslexia . Now he has the opportunity to target his learning disabilities in a targeted manner, has mastered his studies, specializes in psychology and becomes a teacher. As the only male child in the family, he often loses out to his siblings. He has a good relationship with his older sister Denise, who is used as an advisor in some difficult situations. Theo's weakness is beautiful women. He has his longest relationship with Justine, with whom he even secretly moves in, but even during this time he cannot help looking after other women and flirting with them.

Vanessa Huxtable

Second youngest daughter. She goes to school and, with a few minor exceptions, is a very conscientious and good student. In the first season she often drives her parents to despair with the inability to fall asleep. She's also a bit clumsy, which is particularly evident when she's nervous or lovesick. Rudy is often annoyed by her big sister, because she always has something to complain about. It particularly stands out because of its often highly sophisticated expression. Sometimes she hears from Father Cliff that she should express herself in such a way that he, too, can understand. In season 8, she secretly gets engaged to the head caretaker of her university, Dabness Brickey. However, she decides to break off the engagement because after a long struggle she admits that she is not yet ready for a marriage.

Rudith Lillian "Rudy" Huxtable

Youngest child, goes to school. She has a love-hate relationship with her older sister Vanessa. They quarrel at least as often as they support one another and are there for one another when one of the two has problems. Rudy occasionally suffers from being the youngest because she sees what her siblings are allowed to do, but she cannot. She later suffers from the fact that Olivia, the younger, is preferred. Rudy has a friend named Kenny whom she pretty much orders around at first and calls him Bud because she likes the name. She later has a friend named Stanley, who is one of Theo's students.

Minor characters

Olivia Kendall

Denise's stepdaughter, d. H. Daughter of Denise's husband. Olivia is a gifted kid who loves to sing, dance, and wish to do things that adults do, such as sitting and dancing. B. to cook, read newspapers and specialist books. She is convinced that the stork brings the children and therefore does not understand what exactly Cliff does in his job.

Martin Kendall

Denise's husband, who works in the Navy, is rarely there. His daughter Olivia was the result of a marriage to his first wife Paula.

Russell and Anna Huxtable

Russell is Cliff's father and comes by every month to play binoculars - a card game in which he almost always defeats Cliff, mainly because he and his play partner Homer love to cheat. He used to be a musician under the nickname "Slyde". He is known to have tremendous patience. In the Second World War, for example, he allegedly aimed at an enemy camp until the war was over. It annoys Cliff that Russell always has some pocket money to spare for his grandchildren, whereas he was always very stingy with his son. Anna Huxtable is Cliff's mother.

Pam Tucker

Claire's niece, only wants to visit the Huxtables temporarily, but then moves in completely and after a while becomes part of the family. Her school grades are not particularly good, which, as she finds out through Theos help, is mainly due to her learning methods. She just gets better over time and, despite financial difficulties, is considering going to college. At first she has a boyfriend named Arthur who she breaks up with, mostly because he desperately wants to sleep with her. Later she meets the sensitive model student Aaron.

Elvin Tibideaux

Friend and later husband of Sondra. At first a bit unpopular with Cliff and Claire due to his conservative attitude. He finds it strange when a woman goes to work or a man stands in the kitchen. However, it improves over time. Strange is his “not being able to be angry” quality, which is often a point of contention between him and Sondra. He goes to Princeton like her, then opens a wilderness shop with her and, impressed by the birth of his twins, begins studying medicine and later works as a doctor.

Walter Bradley

Theo's best friend, called "Cockroach" (cockroach, also called "Kakerlak" in the first German dubbing). He shares his love for basketball and beautiful women with him. They often learn together.

Charmaine Brown and Lance Rodman

Are a couple and at the same time Pam's two best friends. Charmaine is characterized by a very loud organ. She is often unhappy with Lance, especially when she sees how Aaron treats Pam. But she can be soothed by a sweet remark from Lance. At the end it is announced that both will study at Hillman.

Al and Carrie Hanks

Parents of Claire. Al often stops by to beat the ambitious Cliff at chess.

Peter Chiara

Neighbor child of the Huxtables and a good friend of Rudy. He's a bit chubby and extremely shy. He doesn't speak to anyone except Rudy himself. As soon as he becomes unsure or causes trouble at the Huxtables, he hastily leaves the house.


Rudy's best friend. For his age he has very misogynistic views which, as he proudly proclaims, he has learned from his older brother. With Rudy, however, he is like bad luck and brimstone. Because of his frequent visits, he is almost part of the Huxtables family. He becomes very jealous when Rudy meets Stanley.


Rudy's first friend. He is in the first class that Theo looks after and is characterized by reluctance and sloppy notebooks. Theo first thinks Stanley has dyslexia, but eventually finds out that he never learned to read properly.

Dabnes Brickey

Is briefly the fiancé of Vanessa Huxtable and caretaker at the college she is attending. Cliff is not particularly enthusiastic about him at first, but also makes it clear to him that this is not due to him personally, but to the way in which he was introduced to the family by his daughter Vanessa. The betrothal entered into secret and presented the family with a fait accompli. But Dabnes quickly wins the affection and respect of Cliff, as he is, unlike him, a very talented and skilled craftsman. However, Vanessa breaks the engagement after a while, but both remain friends.

Robert Foreman

Vanessa's first friend. The two of them learn together, which turns out to be a bad idea because the two only have eyes for each other and not for their books. After the relationship ends, Robert tries desperately to find a new girlfriend, which he fails because he sees his future wife in every girl. In addition, he talks far too swollen for his age and thinks too much about the cosmos, fate and the zodiac signs.



The Bill Cosby Show is still considered to be one of the most commercially successful and longest-produced Afro-American sitcoms after All Under One Roof , which came to 215 episodes in nine seasons, and The Jeffersons (249 episodes in eleven seasons). The series, its actors and the crew have been nominated for over 80 awards over the course of eight years of production, 29 of them for the Emmy alone .

Emmy Awards

  • Best Comedy Series (1985)
  • Best Screenplay for a Comedy Series - Michael J. Leeson and ED Weinberger (1984)

Golden Globe Award

  • Best TV Series - Musical or Comedy (1985)
  • Best Television Actor - Musical or Comedy - Bill Cosby (1985, 1986)


  • Bill Cosby and the sitcom inspired the producers of A Terribly Kind Family to create the original working title, Not the Cosbys .
  • The family originally consisted of only four children, the fifth child only came to visit in the tenth episode of the first season. One of the young actresses who auditioned for the later added role of eldest daughter Sondra was Whitney Houston .
  • The role of Rudy was originally created as a boy, but went to Keshia Knight Pulliam after ongoing casting problems .
  • Keshia Knight Pulliam was the youngest actress to date to be nominated for an Emmy in 1986 at the age of six .
  • Cosby's name was not "Heathcliff" in the first episode, but "Clifford" (as can be seen on the practice sign; was kept that way throughout the season).
  • In Italy the series ran under the title I Robinson .
  • For the first episode of the seventh season - The 48-Hour Wonder (Same Time Next Year) - a plot was filmed in which Olivia comes into Heathcliff's bedroom wearing a Bart Simpson mask and says "Now cut that out! "(Eng .:" Take it off! ") Is sent out by this again. This was a swipe at the decision of the competing broadcaster FOX to broadcast the episodes of The Simpsons from the second season on Thursdays at the same time as The Bill Cosby Show . The accompanying decline in viewers led to the discontinuation of the series two years later.
  • The initials SD Jr. can be seen on the badge that Bill Cosby wears in all episodes of the seventh season . With this he commemorates his friend Sammy Davis, Jr. , who died in 1990 and who had one of his last appearances on American television in a guest role in an episode of the fifth season of the Cosby Show.

Released DVDs

  • The Cosby Show - Season 1 (4 DVDs) - 2007
  • The Cosby Show - Season 2 (4 DVDs) - 2007
  • The Cosby Show - Season 3 (4 DVDs) - 2008
  • The Cosby Show - Season 4 (4 DVDs) - 2008
  • The Cosby Show - Season 5 (4 DVDs) - 2008
  • The Cosby Show - Season 6 (4 DVDs) - 2008
  • The Cosby Show - Season 7 (4 DVDs) - 2009
  • The Cosby Show - Season 8 (4 DVDs) - 2009
  • The Cosby Show - The Complete Box (32 DVDs) - 2009


Web links

Individual evidence

  2. ^ The Cosby Show: Same Time Next Year .
  3. John J. O'Connor: Waging a Ratings War: 'Cosby' vs. 'Simpsons' . In: The New York Times , November 27, 1990
  4. ^ John J. O'Connor: Last 'Cosby' Episode Brings the Huxtables A Happy Ending . In: The New York Times , April 30, 1992