The Cosby Show hasn’t necessarily stood the test of television time mostly because of the horrible actions by the show’s titular star. But that doesn’t mean the other folks involved with the program haven’t gone on to do great things over the years. And there’s some pretty exciting news announced recently that series star Phylicia Rashad just landed an amazing new gig. It isn’t on the screen, but rather in academia. Variety is reporting that Rashad has been named the Dean of Howard University’s Fine Arts College.
The Cosby Show star will take over her new responsibilities at Howard University starting this summer and will be working with students in the Fine Arts Department on a number of different initiatives. Apparently, Phylicia Rashad has been actively involved with the university over the years and is an alumnus as well, gravitating in 1970 near the top of her class. She’d been working on and off with the institution over the years both as a guest speaker and also as an adjunct professor in the department.
The new role for Phylicia Rashad comes after an extensive and successful career on both the stage and screen. She got her start performing in plays and eventually moved into television roles with an early part in One Life to Live in the early 1980s. But, of course, her big break came in 1984 when she was cast as Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show. She played the wife to Bill Cosby’s Cliff Huxtable, a New York City doctor. The sitcom followed their life raising their kids and was celebrated at the time for being one of the first mostly-black cast shows to take over the television ratings.
The Cosby Show would stay on the air for eight seasons, routinely topping the ratings, ranking #1 on the Nielsen charts for its Seasons 2-5. This was and remains and nearly unprecedented run and speaks to the sheer magnitude and reach of the show at the time. Rashad as Claire was an iconic character, bringing a comedic stoicism that played perfectly against Cosby’s, for the time, hijinks. It’s just one of the many reasons the show worked so well.
Of course, The Cosby Show has seen its legacy tarnished over the years because of the allegations and ultimate convictions against series star Bill Cosby. He’s currently serving jail time after being convicted on multiple accounts of sexual assault. It was a disturbing turn of events to have this come to light and has cast something of a pall over a show that owned the better part of a decade on the small screen and had such a solid core of writing and talented cast members.
After The Cosby Show, Phylicia Rashad has stayed busy with work in recent years. She’s had a role in the first two Creed movies with Michael B. Jordan as the titular son of the late boxer from the original Rocky films. She’s set to appear in the third installment as well. She’s also had a role on This is Us as well as Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. So while she’s had a role in academia, it doesn’t appear to conflict at all with a filming schedule. In fact, with this new gig at Howard, it’s likely encouraged.