[46] In addition to a diverse group of friends,[47] Denise would also meet and be influenced by new friends and teachers "with different perspectives on life", allowing the character to "grow in profound and interesting ways. "[47] However, Hope admitted that the character is popular due to her wardrobe and audiences being able to relate to "her frazzled state of mind", concluding, "Really, we weren’t all that different from Denise. [47][60] In the wake of Bonet's departure, Tomei was also fired and her character written out of the series despite Allen's original intentions to retain "the dynamic of having a white girl in a black college. She left "A Different World" after season 1. "[47] Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America author Tanner Colby reported that applications to historically black colleges and universities in America increased by 14% one year after Denise started attending Hillman, while mostly white colleges experienced their first noticeable decrease in African American enrollment since the civil rights era. Though Martin is a stable, mature man who tells Clair and Cliff that he will do right by their daughter, the fact that he and Denise married on the spur of the moment had been a source of friction with the Huxtables. ", "15 Times Bill Cosby Was a Huge Hypocrite", "10 Actors' Dramatic Departures from Popular Shows", "A Different World was the last black sitcom to be a hit—but why? [30] However, the costume designer did have some restrictions; Lemire would have liked to have been "more outrageous with [Bonet's] hair and hats" but limited herself because she had little control over the actress hair. [23] Cosby immediately became interested in then-15 year-old Bonet because she was wearing makeup on only one side of her face, already demonstrating some of the quirky characteristics Cosby had envisioned for the character simply by being herself. [6] Denise returns to the Huxtable household one year later, this time as the second wife of a divorced Naval officer, Lt. Martin Kendall (Joseph C. Phillips) – who she marries without her family's knowledge – and stepmother to his three year-old daughter Olivia (Raven-Symoné). "[142] Agreeing that Denise is a precursor to Carrie Bradshaw and Cookie Lyon from Empire, Julee Wilson, senior fashion editor for HuffPost, named the character "one of our first TV style crushes", crediting her with teaching audiences how to layer and accessorize their outfits. "[45] The majority of the first season revolves around Denise, the show's lead character at the time,[48] struggling to maintain her grades. The second eldest of their five children,[4][5] Denise is a younger sister of Sondra (Sabrina Lebeauf) and an elder sister to Theo (Malcolm-Jamal Warner), Vanessa (Tempestt Bledsoe) and Rudy (Keshia Knight Pulliam). [46] Nadra Nittle of Racked accused Denise's "dull" personality of causing the show's inaugural season to "fall flat". Nor was I looking to destroy her reputation. In the finale, it is learned that he and Denise are expecting a baby together. [55] Denise's "replacement" Pam was not particularly well-received by fans after she was written out of the series. [5][54] Robert E. Johnson of Jet reported that Bonet's cast mates happily welcomed her back to the series, with Cosby assuring her "there's nothing but love here for you". Add the first question. ", "17 TV Moms We Would Totally Borrow Clothes From", "#TBT: The Enduring Influence of Lisa Bonet", "Denise Huxtable-Inspired Ensembles for the Bohemian Chic", "The 50 Most Stylish TV Characters Of All Time: A Ranked Guide", "6 Movie and TV Characters That Are Back-to-School Style Icons", "Meet The 9 Best Dressed TV Characters Of All Time", "The Best Beauty Looks From Your Fave '90s Characters", "15 Female TV Characters That Have Incredible Hair, Ranked", "Lisa Bonet's Best Style Moments Before Leaving 'It's A Different World, "On TV: 'The Cosby Show' tackled race and class in the 1980s", "Sinister hands and full nests: 14 types of family dysfunction", "Lisa Bonet and the Hypocrisy of Bill Cosby", "Jason Momoa Knew He Loved Lisa Bonet When He Was Just 8-Years-Old", "Jason Momoa on His Directorial Debut and What Khal Drogo Would Have Done to the Mountain", "Then & Now: '80s sexiest pinups, heartthrobs and crushes we still can't get enough of", "Why We're Still Obsessed With This '90s Style Icon", "An Ode To Lisa Bonet As Denise Huxtable, In Words + Photos", "Lisa Bonet's Style Evolution: Badass Boho Chic Since The '80s", "Unnecessary Tribute: 13 Ways The Cosby Show is Even Better Now Than It Was Back Then", "Celebrating 30 Years of 'The Cosby Show' by Debating Four Key 'Cosby' Questions", "I Re-Watched 'The Cosby Show' And It Was Brutal", "Emmys 2014: From Anna Nicole Smith's breasts to Lassie, the 10 oddest nominations of all time", "I Went To A Black College Because Of "A Different World, "Picks and Pans Review: A Different World", "Television: Reruns; Did 'Cosby' Do Better in College? [83], According to Eudie Pak of Biography, Denise was first introduced "as the popular girl with ever-changing hair and fashion". When the newlyweds arrive back home, Martin learns that Denise's family not only does not … Bonet's performance earned her a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 1986. [23] Cosby eventually said that he was not particularly fond of Bonet's role in the film, which he dismissed as "a movie made by white America that cast a black girl, gave her voodoo things to do and have sex. Although Cosby denies having been opposed to Bonet's career trajectory, he developed A Different World amidst their dispute to provide the actress with a more mature platform. [5] Although producers felt that the scandal would disturb "the squeaky-clean Huxtable image",[41] Cosby eventually decided to provide Bonet with her own television series, a spin-off of The Cosby Show entitled A Different World. You have my blessings", and maintaining that he and Bonet have a good relationship in which he would have voiced his disapproval if he had felt otherwise. [5] Fearing how Cosby would react to the news based on previous experiences with on-set pregnancies, Bonet first consulted with producer Debbie Allen, who suggested that they approach Cosby about the pregnancy together. Theo Huxtable (brother) Vanessa Huxtable (sister). [6] After graduating from high school, Denise leaves home to pursue post-secondary education at the fictional, historically black Hillman College,[7] the college both her parents and grandparents had attended. "[158] The Glow Up contributor S. D. Chrismon believes it is unfair to compare Zoey to her predecessor "any more than Black-ish really compares to The Cosby Show", despite both characters' similarities that include fashion and wit. [73] Bonet appeared on The Cosby Show on and off from 1984 to 1987, and from 1989 to 1991,[74] for a grand total of 98 episodes between the ages of 17 and 24. "[78] When the Cosby Show cast was honored with the Impact Award at the 2011 TV Land Awards,[79] Bonet was noticeably absent, citing "scheduling conflicts" as the official reason for her nonattendance. [101] Similarly, The Odyssey Online's Bianca Eugene cited "15 Reasons Why Denise Huxtable Is A Fashion Icon", elaborating that the character "has proven that no matter how outrageous her outfit or hairstyle may be, she still looks good. [76] Actor Malcolm-Jamal Warner, who portrays Bonet's on-screen brother Theo, said "Lisa has always danced to the beat of her own drummer, which has worked for and against her";[76] Warner recalled being "surprised" when Bonet once attended a smaller-scale reunion that featured him and on-screen sisters Tempestt Bledsoe (Vanessa) and Keshia Knight Pulliam (Rudy) for Nickelodeon's Favorite Huxtable Contest. Sexy. [47], While appearing on A Different World, Bonet married musician Lenny Kravitz in 1988 and became pregnant with their child soon afterward. He has been a critic of affirmative action and same-sex marriage in the United States. Phillips is from Colorado. [150] HelloGiggles ranked Denise first on its ranking of "10 TV Characters Who Would Make Awesome Big Sisters", calling her "magnetic to watch" due to her free-spirited personality and sense of fashion. [117] Rebekah Williams, writing for Her Campus, called Denise's personality "charming". Over time, he does start to change his attitudes and behavior, and by the time he and Sondra get engaged, he is welcomed into the family with open arms. [12] Although the producers expected viewers to miss Denise,[14] critics generally conceded that Whitley, in whom audiences had always shown more interest,[14] offered better television than Denise. [99] HelloGiggles featured her among "The Best Beauty Looks From Your Fave '90s Characters", with author Farah Prince dubbing her the "one person from the ‘90s I wanted to emulate the most" while complimenting praising her sparse use of makeup. [28] Despite granting her his approval, Cosby refused to see the film. : How Friends & Strangers Helped Shape My Style, author Andrea Linett crowned Denise "The first television character who really had style", claiming she was the main reason she watched The Cosby Show weekly. Directed by Tony Singletary. Created by comedian Bill Cosby, Denise was originally conceived as the Huxtable's eldest child until older sister Sondra was introduced in the show's second episode to establish that her parents had already successfully raised a college-educated daughter. However, Denise constantly struggles with her finances and academics to the point of which she ultimately drops out,[11] becoming the first member of her family to drop out of college. [52] Cosby in particular was strongly opposed to the idea of a Huxtable child experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and becoming an unwed mother,[44][51][53] concluding, "Lisa Bonet is pregnant not Denise" and rejecting Allen's proposal. "[152] A. Bottinick of TV Insider identified both characters' pursuit of higher education and African American heritage among their similarities, dubbing them both "the teen style icons of their time and—quite surprisingly, considering their shows take place years apart—have donned quite a few of the same looks. [71][72] Her character is, however, mentioned and used sparingly throughout the episode. [5] Bonet first expressed interest in pursuing a career as a dramatic film actress midway through the show's first season,[22] originally intending to leave the series after only two years. [81] Bonet and Tomei, both of whom were fired during the first season of A Different World, have remained close friends. [23] According to Cosby: His Life and Times author Mark Whitaker, Cosby enjoyed "the naturalness of [Bonet's] delivery", which he found refreshing in comparison to the "stagey quality" most child actors who auditioned for the role tended to rely upon, in addition to her "exotic beauty", which he likened to that of singer Lena Horne. "[12] Although A Different World would remain a spin-off of The Cosby Show, Denise's absence severed connections between the two shows apart from the fact that Hillman is her father's alma mater during its earliest seasons. [113] Victor Valle of the Los Angeles Times wondered if the sex scene would harm Bonet's "wholesome TV image" on both The Cosby Show and the then-upcoming A Different World. "[90] Marie Claire included Denise at number six on their "15 Female TV Characters That Have Incredible Hair" ranking. In 2006, Phillips published an autobiography, He Talk Like A White Boy, which includes a foreword by Tavis Smiley. The Cosby Show Wiki is a FANDOM TV Community. [10][16][22] Denise was downgraded from a main to recurring character for the remainder of the season. Allen created an entirely new character, Freddie Brooks, and recruited actress Cree Summer to occupy Bonet's vacancy as the show's "earthy, bohemian" character. [8], A Different World originally focuses on the character during her freshman and sophomore years at Hillman,[9][10] revolving around her as she meets new friends and adjusts to college life.

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