Saaret Yoseph is a writer and Assistant Editor at TheRoot.com. She manages and blogs for \"Their Eyes Were Watching …\"
Before starring as a corporate vixen in the hit 1992 film Boomerang, Robin Givens was a Huxtable heartbreaker. In her role as Suzanne, a school friend of Denise, she had Theo jumping through hoops to impress her. Too bad for Theo, Suzanne was already taken.
Captions by Saaret E. Yoseph
You might have missed former supermodel Iman's appearance on The Cosby Show. As the very pregnant Mrs. Montgomery, she did some verbal sparring with Cliff and even had some funny lines. But in that same episode, Clair finds a marijuana joint in Theo's textbook, and Mrs. Montgomery is quickly forgotten.
Way before the braids and R&B hits, a young Alicia Keys with a short, curly do' appeared on The Cosby Show as one of Rudy's friends who came over for a slumber party, ready to drive Cliff crazy.
Who could forget the episode where Denise and Theo got into a car accident? The mishap got them and the rest of the family a chance to meet Stevie Wonder and even record with him in the studio. "Jammin' on the one!"
Toward the end of first season, Angela Bassett appears on the show as Mrs. Mitchell, a pregnant woman who is quick to put Cliff in his place when he describes labor pains as mild.
Remember when Vanessa got into a fight because some girls at school called her "rich girl"? Essence Atkins was on the sidelines of all that drama. She appeared on the episode as a friend from school who visited Vanessa and got a tour of the Huxtables' brownstone.
The legendary actress and singer Lena Horne performed for Cliff's 48th birthday celebration. He sat in awe as she sang jazz. And Rudy was excited, too, once she remembered Horne's guest appearance on Sesame Street.
You may remember Sinbad for his role on The Cosby Show spinoff A Different World, but before he became loudmouthed Walter Oakes, he was a slick car salesman who Cliff did his best to lowball when the Huxtables bought a new car.
Former Soul Food star Malinda Williams was a bad influence on Vanessa. She smoked cigarettes in Vanessa's room while Cliff and Clair were away, and Theo did his best to play man of the house.
Another former Soul Food star, Vanessa Williams, appeared on the show as Theo's love interest. She had a Bajan accent and lured Theo away from his studies to go out to a party.
Though Victoria Rowell may best be known as Drucilla from The Young & the Restless, she also played Paula, Olivia's biological mother. Denise invited her to Thanksgiving dinner in season 6, much to Martin's chagrin.
Blues man B.B. King, as Riley Jackson, inspired Rudy's friend Bud to let it all hang out. As King strummed his guitar, Kenny started wailing: "Well, I gave you seven children; now you say you want 'em back! Oh … I got the blues!"
The Huxtables always knew how to cut a rug and, occasionally, some professionals would show up to help them out. Judith Jamison, artistic director of the Alvin Ailey Dance Group, appeared in an episode where Cliff and his friends challenged Denise and her crew to a bit of a dance off.
Before playing tough-talking Pam on the hit '90s show Martin, Tichina Arnold was laying into Theo in an episode where he got a little too close to a girl who wasn't his girlfriend, Justine.
In the show's final season, Mama Africa visited the Huxtables. As Olivia hid in the closet, South African singer Miriam Makeba was able to coax her out in time to say goodbye to Martin as he went off to Asia.
Sammy Davis Jr.
When Cliff learns that his patient, a pregnant teenager, has no family, he tracks down her estranged grandfather. Enter Rat Pack-er Sammy Davis Jr. who charms Clair and insults Cliff incessantly.
Blair Underwood appeared on a few episodes of The Cosby Show, mainly as Denise's love interest. He danced the jitterbug with Cliff, Clair and their friends, withstood Theo's evil eye and even held it together while being interrogated by Rudy.
Carl Anthony Payne
Who didn't love Cockroach? As Theo's best bud, Carl Anthony Payne II was loyal to the end. Cockroach — or Walter, as Clair knew him — pretended to be Theo's lawyer when the Huxtables put him on trial and even shaved his head so the two of them could be in a music video. The pair rapped Shakespeare, braved snowball attacks and flirted with the ladies, a.k.a. "burgers" and "burger supremes".
Mario van Peebles
If you remember that Clair had a sister, then you might even recall the episode where sister Sarah got engaged to none other than Mario van Peebles.
Naomi Campbell gave Theo's girlfriend, Justine, a run for her money. She appeared on the episode where Sondra goes into labor, but Theo was the one in pain after Justine saw him get all googly-eyed for Naomi's character.
Vanessa was lucky enough to have the famous jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie as her music teacher. In his role as Mr. Hampton, he wasn't able to improve Vanessa's clarinet skills, but he sure did entertain Rudy by puffing his cheeks out "like a blowfish."
Robbbbbbert. He was Vanessa's on-again, off-again boyfriend. Dondre Whitfield's returning character was a bit of a nuisance to everyone, but his dream girl. He was sensitive to the core, citing astrology and philosophizing with Cliff were his favorite pastimes … until he got the boot.