One of my all-time favorite television moms was Phylicia Rashad as the ever-capable, ever-glamorous, ever-wise, and ever-beautiful Clair Huxtable, lawyer, mother of five, and wife of the ever-bemused Cliff Huxtable. It was a joy to speak with her about this week’s 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition of the complete series on DVD.
What inspires you?
Oh, I have a well of inspiration to pull from. My mother, my father, my sister, all the teachers I have ever known, and my friends, all of these inspire me. And the practices in which I engage every day, the practice of meditation in which I engage every day. I look in nature in wonder at what nature is and what she does and how she does it, and realize that myself and all people are a part of it and that is very inspiring to me.
How did you come to be cast as Clair?
I had a series of auditions, and at the time it was thought that she would be bi-lingual. When I was 13 my mother took us to live in Mexico City for a semester and I learned my capacity to learn a foreign language and later studied Spanish, and it helped me in the audition. Later I asked Mr. Cosby, “Why did you cast me?” He was twirling his cigar, and said, “By the look in your eye when you told Theo to shut up, that was the eye of a mother.”
What’s next for you?
I am in Halle Berry’s next film, a drama.
Do you have a favorite episode?
Love them all. I loved the one when all members of the family assumed different characters to teach Theo a lesson about money, Theo’s prom, the girls with their hair blown all over creation, that was funny as all get-out. I loved the episode with Christopher Plummer and Roscoe Lee Browne delivering Shakespeare in the living room. The opening credits were a production in themselves, something we looked forward to doing each year.
What makes you laugh?
My nieces and nephews. I take great joy in them. Time with my friends. I have a wonderful group of women friends and I love it when we get together.
I have one Cosby Show DVD set to give away to the first person who sends me an email at email@example.com with “Cosby” in the subject line — for those who have not previously won anything only, please!