Bill Cosby’s Hollywood Reporter cover story is an exclusive excerpt from a new biography on the icon by writer Mark Whitaker. In it the author reveals many untold facts about the comedian’s life, including his original vision for The Cosby Show’s main characters.
“Cosby thought it would be funny for the character to drive a limousine,” reads the excerpt. “It would allow him to tell stories about all the people and situations he encountered on the job, and give him a flexible schedule so he could be at home during the day to interact with his children.”
As for the beloved Mrs. Huxtable? Cosby wanted her to be a Latina plumber or carpenter! Whitaker says that it was the show’s producers and Cosby’s wife Camille who convinced him that both parents on the show should be college graduates.
“You will not be a chauffeur!” Camille said when he briefed her on the meeting. When Cosby asked why not, the author says she replied, “Because I’m not going to be a carpenter!”
According to Whitaker, Camille’s true issue was that Cosby had spent too much of his career fighting for the dignity of characters from past shows to create a new show that played on the stereotypes of a Black chauffeur and Latina handywoman.
Thankfully Cosby was smart enough to know that his wife (and producers) were right. The Cosby Show went on to break many stereotypes on television thanks to its portrayal of a doctor and lawyer whose children (ultimately modeled after Cosby’s own kids) were raised in an upper-middle class home. Plus, can you image life without Phylicia Rashad playing Clair Huxtable?! Close call!