Sep. 20, 1984
30 min.
NBC TV Network

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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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Vanessa Huxtable The Cosby Show
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Vanessa Huxtable

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Tempestt BledsoeTempestt Bledsoe
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Character Bio

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Vanessa Huxtable is the fourth child and third daughter of Cliff and Clair. In season one, she is eleven years old, making her birth year 1973. As Vanessa grew up, she faced typical teenage problems and heartbreaks, such as wearing make-up before her 15th birthday in violation of her parents' rules and spending a lot of time talking on the phone with her friends. Unlike her older brother, she was an excellent student and seemed to enjoy school; at the beginning of season seven, she went off to college one year early. She became engaged in the final season to Dabnis Brickey, a man in his late twenties. Dabnis was the head of maintenance at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, where Vanessa was enrolled. However, Vanessa realized that she was not ready to get married, and they broke off the engagement. They maintained they were "just friends" by the end of the season.

In the early seasons, Vanessa is usually considered to be nosy, as she usually—sneakily—tries to find out what goes on in the Huxtable house, especially when it involves someone (usually Theo) in trouble with their parents. But, in a later episode, the tables are turned, as Theo catches Vanessa's friends smoking cigarettes in her room, although Vanessa herself did not take part, and even tried to dissuade her friends from doing so.

She often fought with her younger sister, Rudy, over typical childish issues. At one point, their fighting caused damage to both their bedrooms and the kitchen ceiling, driving Cliff to declare their rooms off limits because of "World War Five" and exile them to the basement until repairs were finished. But, on one occasion, Vanessa got into a physical tussle with Denise over a sweater that Vanessa stole from Denise's closet after Denise did not allow her to borrow it.

One of Vanessa's best friends in high school was a girl named Kara (played by Elizabeth Narvaez), who could ramble on about nothing in particular at high speed. Whenever Cliff—who once referred to Kara as "Turbo Tongue"—was on the receiving end of her babbling, he would always reply with a bewildered "Thank you." Vanessa appeared sporadically in the final two seasons of the series due to the character being away at college.

The character is loosely based upon Cosby's daughter, Ensa, who was approximately the same age as Vanessa.

Vanessa also appears in the A Different World episode "Risky Business" (with Clair and Theo).

Episode Screenshots

04x04 - Cliff's Mistake
Season 4, Episode 04
 - The Cosby Show: A Look Back
07x20 - No More Mr. Nice Guy
Season 7, Episode 20
08x25 - And So We Commence (2)
Season 8, Episode 25
[More Episodes]

Vanessa Huxtable Photos

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