Cliff Huxtable

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Cliff Huxtable
The Cosby Show character
First appearance Pilot
Last appearance And So We Commence
Created by Bill Cosby
Portrayed by Bill Cosby
Aliases Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable
Gender Male
Occupation Physician
Title Dr.
Family Russell Huxtable (father)
Anna Huxtable (mother)
James Theodore Huxtable (brother; deceased)
Harriet McCutcheon (paternal great-aunt)
Spouse(s) Clair Huxtable
Significant other(s) Eunice Chantilly
Children Sondra Huxtable–Tibideaux
Denise Huxtable–Kendall
Theo Huxtable
Vanessa Huxtable
Rudy Huxtable
Nationality American

Dr. Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable is a fictional character on the featured on the NBC sitcom, The Cosby Show. He was portrayed by Bill Cosby.

Conception and development[edit]

Cosby originally proposed that the couple should both have blue-collar jobs, with the father a limousine driver,[1] who owned his own car, and the mother an electrician[2] but, with advice from his wife, Camille Cosby, the concept was changed so that the family was well-off financially, with the mother a lawyer and the father a doctor.[3][4]


Dr. Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable is known for his comical antics, playful admonishments, and relentless teasing humor. He lives Brooklyn Heights, New York. He was born in October 1937 in Philadelphia, making him 47 years old at the beginning of the series. Cliff had a brother, James Theodore Huxtable, who died of rheumatic fever at the age of 7. In his high school and college years, he was an athlete who wrestled, played football, and ran track. He later served in the Navy before going to medical school. He is an OB/GYN who runs a practice from the office annexed to his home. In the show, most characters outside of family and friends refer to him as "Dr. Huxtable", and he is well-respected in the community.

Cliff is married to Clair Huxtable. Both Cliff and Clair attended the fictional historically black college Hillman College. Together, they have five children: Sondra, Denise, Theodore (Theo), Vanessa, and Rudith (Rudy). Cliff enjoys live jazz, has an extensive collection of albums, and tries to eat junk food whenever he can get away with it.

Cliff is very eccentric and silly to most people around him, especially his family, however he is very kind-hearted and an extremely dedicated father with a strong sense of humor. Although he and his wife fostered a tight-knit, loving family, a running gag throughout the series is his thwarted attempts to get the grown children to leave the house.

Very playful, Cliff enjoys competition, often making bets with Clair over various things, such as the date a certain jazz song was released, or having a "Smooth Contest" to see which of them looked more elegant for a night on the town, as judged by the children. He also plays a monthly game of pinochle against his father and some friends, which sometimes gets very passionate. Unfortunately, Cliff often finds himself on the losing end of most of his bets and games, as, for example, he has never beaten his father-in-law at chess. However, Cliff eventually broke his losing streak at pinochle against his father and his friend Homer Dobson with the help of Dr. Foster (portrayed by Roscoe Lee Brown), an expert pinochle player who also happened to be his and Clair's literary professor at Hillman College.


Bill Cosby's role as Cliff Huxtable has had a mostly positive reception from critics.[5][6][7][8][9][10]