Almost twenty years before Alicia Keys captured audiences everywhere with her musical talents, she appeared in the “Slumber Party” episode of The Cosby Show.ï¿½ Credited as Alicia Cook, she portrayed Maria, a guest at Rudy’s infamous slumber party where Cliff entertained the guests by engaging them in the “bucking horse” game.ï¿½ Keys is one of many now famous celebrities who, before they were stars, appeared as guests on the 80’s sitcom.
The obvious and memorable guests included Deon Richmond (Kenny), the lateï¿½Michelle Thomas (Justine Phillips),ï¿½ Dondre Whitfield (Robertï¿½Freeman),ï¿½Adam Sandler (Smitty), and Carl Anthony Payne II (Walter “Cockroach” Bradley) among others. A host of other recurring guests made up the Huxtables diverse group of neighbors, friends, and associates.
However, many of today’s best and brightest stars appeared only once in the show’s eight season run. Among them were UPN’s Half and Half stars Essence Atkins and Rachel True, Young and the Restless’ Kristoff St. John and Victoria Rowell, film star Blair Underwood (Madea’s Family Reunion, Set It Off), Head of the Class’ Robin Givens, film star Daryl “Chill” Mitchell (10 Things I Hate About You, Galaxy Quest), Clueless’ Stacey Dash, The Jamie Foxx Show’s Garcelle Beauvais, Soul Food’s Malinda Williams,ï¿½ Lela Rochon (Waiting To Exhale), Phyllis Yvonne Stickney (The Women of Brewster Place), Angela Bassett (What’s Love Got To Do With It, Waiting To Exhale), Law & Order’sï¿½ S. Epatha Merkerson, models Naomi Campbell and Iman, Everybody Hates Chris’ Tichina Arnold, Soul Food’s (the series) Vanessa Williams, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s Tatyana Ali, and Grey’s Anatomy’s Chandra Wilson. Many of the above stars were rookie actors or largely unknown at the time of their appearance on The Cosby Show. They went on, however, to develop successful acting careers.ï¿½
While the show proved to be a stepping stone for many then-rising stars, there were also guest appearances and cameos by several well-known entertainers. Among them were actress and producer Debbie Allen, singer Lena Horne, Blues legend B.B. King, actor and dancer Sammy Davis Jr., songstress Nancy Wilson, singer Stevie Wonder, and a host of other notable actors, musicians, and entertainers in general, not to mention the various works or art, music, and literature featured throughout the show’s history.
In addition to portraying a very positive side of African-American life,ï¿½ The Cosby Show paid homage to those individuals who paved the way for such a show, paid respect to the many brilliant and artistic works of fellow African-Americans, andï¿½paid its debts to the community by providing opportunity to the many emerging young actors of its time. To find out more about the show’s guest stars, check out the Internet Movie Database (http://www.imdb.com) and http://www.epguides.com.