Sep. 20, 1984
30 min.
NBC TV Network

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The Cosby Show tv show photo

The Cosby Show

Doctor Heathcliff and Clair Huxtable, a happily married couple, are raising their children (Sondra, Denise, Theodore, Vanessa, and Rudy). The two oldest daughters eventually live adult lives and get married. As the children get older, the family gets larger and, to the chagrin of Cliff, keep on coming back home when he wants them to move out and live on their own for good.

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Clair Hanks Huxtable The Cosby Show
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Clair Hanks Huxtable

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  Played by:
Phylicia RashadPhylicia Rashad
Born to dentist, Andrew Arthur Allen, and poet, Vivian Ayers, in Harris County, TX. As a child, Phylicia, ...

Character Bio

Clair Hanks Huxtable photo
Clair Olivia Huxtable (née Hanks) is the elegantly tough, eloquent, and engaging wife of Cliff, who is known for her relaxed confidence and striking emphasis. Aside from her deep and decorated self-expression, Clair can also be playful and silly. She is an intelligent, classy, and successful businesswoman. A great debater, Clair rarely if ever loses an argument on the show, a testament to her career as lawyer. She is also highly skilled in areas of recall about facts and dates, which she uses during discussions and debates: in one episode she is shown quoting a passage and even the page number of a book during an appearance at a television roundtable. Clair is bilingual but is only shown speaking Spanish on a couple of occasions. Several episodes also showcased her singing talent. Despite her elegant-styled toughness and strictness, Clair is a very loving mother and wife. The character is loosely based upon Cosby's wife, 'Camille Olivia Hanks-Cosby'.

Her age is directly stated only once during the series, and two separate episodes provide contradictory information on the age difference between herself and Cliff. He celebrates his 50th birthday during season three ("Cliff's 50th Birthday"), while she celebrates her 46th during season five ("Birthday Blues," two years later), indicating that she is six years younger. However, in the season four episode "The Locker Room," it is stated that Clair is four years younger. Also in the season one episode "Breaking with Tradition", when Denise asks Cliff where he would have gone to school if he had the choice he says Hillman because "that's where your mother went" implying that he and Clair are the same age. Either that or he stayed back quite a few times in school.

Her character was originally supposed to be a housewife, but when the show finally aired, she became a lawyer. During the series, she becomes a partner in her law firm. As an attorney she helps her family with legal issues, and she successfully represents her eldest daughter, Sondra, in a case over dishonest car repairs. When it came to the Huxtable household, she was in charge, even though she let Cliff think he was in charge (although Cliff was known to lay down the law when he had to). She was the chief disciplinarian of the children, as shown in an episode where Vanessa and her friends sneak off to Baltimore to see a rock concert and Clair delivers a memorable and scathing diatribe to her. Another memorable moment came when the normally composed Clair lost her temper when Sondra announced she wasn't going to law school after paying her tuition to attend Princeton.
Clair also appears in four episodes of A Different World: "Clair's Last Stand", "Risky Business" (with Theo and Vanessa), "Forever Hold Your Peace" (with Martin and Olivia) and "Success, Lies and Videotapes".

Clair Huxtable has been ranked highly in several lists of the top television mothers. She was voted as television's "Favorite TV Mom" in a poll conducted by the Opinion Research Company in 2004. In 2009, she was included in the Top 5 Classic TV Moms by Film.com. In May 2012, Clair was one of the 12 moms chosen by users of iVillage on their list of "Mommy Dearest: The TV Moms You Love". AOL named her the ninth Most Memorable Female TV Character.

Episode Screenshots

01x18 - Vanessa's New Class
Season 1, Episode 18
06x21 - Theo's Dirty Laundry
Season 6, Episode 21
03x25 - Hillman
Season 3, Episode 25
01x14 - Independence Day
Season 1, Episode 14
[More Episodes]

Clair Hanks Huxtable Photos

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Previous: Dr. Heathcliff 'Cliff' Huxtable Next: Rudy Huxtable
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