Keshia Knight Pulliam

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Keshia Knight Pulliam
Born (1979-04-09) April 9, 1979 (age 35)
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
Education Foxcroft School
Spelman College
Occupation Actress
Years active 1982–present
Awards 2009 : NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (House of Payne)
2010 : NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (House of Payne)
2012 : NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (House of Payne)

Keshia Knight Pulliam (born April 9, 1979 in Newark, New Jersey) is an American actress. She is best known for her childhood role as Rudy Huxtable, the youngest child of Cliff and Clair Huxtable on the NBC sitcom The Cosby Show (1984–92) and as reformed con artist Miranda Lucas-Payne on the TBS comedy-drama Tyler Perry's House of Payne (2007–12).


Pulliam became the youngest actress ever to be nominated for an Emmy at age six for best supporting actress. Even before that – at age three – she played "Keshia" on Sesame Street. She also played in the movie "Polly" with Phylicia Rashad. Her character on The Cosby Show, "Rudy", was known for being the "baby" of the family. She is ranked at 19 in VH1's list of the "100 Greatest Kid Stars". In a 2008 interview, she revealed that when she read for the role of Rudy, when she was only five, she kept looking away from the director (Jay Sandrich), who finally asked her what she was looking at. She said when pointing to a monitor, "How can you make me on the TV?"[1] Throughout the show's eight seasons, Pulliam had an on-and-off-screen chemistry with Bill Cosby, as the two shared their own friendship when not filming. For example, she related how "Mr. Cosby and I, we had a competition going on to see who would do a better job at lip-syncing. That was our little inside thing. I think I did a better job." She also appeared on a 1997 episode of Bill Cosby's follow-up sitcom Cosby, playing a guitar-player. She has remained friendly with Cosby.

Pulliam won a celebrity version of Fear Factor in September 2002. She also won a celebrity version of The Weakest Link, and participated in Celebrity Mole 2: Yucatan. In 2004, she performed in Chingy's music video for "One Call Away". In 2005, she played Darnelle in Beauty Shop with Queen Latifah. Pulliam performed in Donald Gray's play The Man of Her Dreams in the fall of 2006 in St. Louis.[2] In 2008, she joined the cast of Tyler Perry's House of Payne as Miranda, the new wife of Calvin Payne. The role earned her the 2009 and 2010 NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. In 2009, she played Candace "Candy" Washington in the film Madea Goes to Jail.[3] Pulliam appeared in Tank's 2010 music video for his cover of "I Can't Make You Love Me", playing his love interest.

In 2011, commenting on the fact that only white actors had won Golden Globe Awards that year, she said:

I think that there is definitely work to be done. It can always be more diverse. We live in a very multicultural and global society. More needs to be done to increase the representation of all people and really show the world for what it is. It’s not just one color.[4]

In 2013, she was a contestant on the ABC celebrity diving show Splash. She was first to be eliminated.

Personal life[edit]

Keshia Knight Pulliam was born in Newark, New Jersey. She is the daughter of Denise and James Pulliam, Sr., a manager.[5] She has three younger brothers. Pulliam attended Rutgers Preparatory School in Somerset, New Jersey. After The Cosby Show ended her family moved to Virginia, where Pulliam attended the Potomac School in McLean, Virginia and Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Virginia. She received a bachelor of arts degree in Sociology from Spelman College in 2001.[citation needed] She is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.[citation needed]



Year Title Role Notes
1985 Last Dragon, TheThe Last Dragon Sophia / Natasha
2004 Motives Letrice Video
2005 Beauty Shop Darnelle
2005 Gospel, TheThe Gospel Maya Walker
2008 Cuttin Da Mustard Wendy
2008 Death Toll Mirie
2009 Madea Goes to Jail Candace Washington


Year Title Role Notes
1984–92 Cosby Show, TheThe Cosby Show Rudy Huxtable Main role (177 episodes)
1985 Back to Next Saturday Rudy Huxtable Movie
1987 Little Match Girl, TheThe Little Match Girl Molly Movie
1987–88 Different World, AA Different World Rudy Huxtable 3 episodes
1989 Polly Polly Movie
1989 Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, AA Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court Karen Movie
1990 Polly: Comin' Home! Polly Movie
1990 The Earth Day Special Rudy Huxtable
1997 Cosby Guitarist Episode: "The Return of Charlites"
2002 Fear Factor Herself Reality series; one episode
2002 What About Your Friends: Weekend Getaway Temple Movie
2004 Celebrity Mole: Yucatán Herself Reality series
2004 Christmas at Water's Edge Leila Turner Movie
2007–12 Tyler Perry's House of Payne Miranda Lucas Payne Main role (56 episodes)
2010 Psych Stranjay Episode: "The Polarizing Express"
2012 Mr. Box Office Vanessa Owens Episode: "Pilot"
2013 Splash Herself Reality series; eliminated in episode 1
2013 Guys with Kids Bridget Episode: "Divorce Party"
2013 Love Letter, TheThe Love Letter Parker Movie

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 1984: Emmy Awards Best Supporting Young Actress in the Comedy Series (nominated) The Cosby Show
  • 2009: NAACP Image Awards Best Supporting Actress in the Comedy Series (won) Tyler Perry's House of Payne
  • 2010: NAACP Image Awards Best Supporting Actress in the Comedy Series (won) Tyler Perry's House of Payne
  • 2011: NAACP Image Awards Best Supporting Actress in the Comedy Series (nominated) Tyler Perry's House of Payne
  • 2012: NAACP Image Awards Best Supporting Actress in the Comedy Series (won) Tyler Perry's House of Payne


  1. ^ "Rudy from "The Cosby Show" is all grown up | People, Celebrities, Actresses & Profiles Of Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Women In Movies, TV Shows & Music". April 23, 2008. Archived from the original on July 24, 2012. Retrieved March 20, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Real Talk with Jeanne Roberts EP 107 Segment 1, Keshia Knight Pulliam". YouTube. Retrieved March 20, 2011. 
  3. ^ Keshia Knight Pulliam: The Madea Goes to Jail Interview with Kam Williams Kam
  4. ^ A.R. Shaw (February 16, 2011). "The Evolution of Keshia Knight Pulliam". Retrieved February 24, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Keshia Knight Pulliam Biography (1979-)". April 9, 1979. Retrieved March 20, 2011. 

External links[edit]